Once post-pandemic tourism numbers in the East Africa Community (EAC) bloc return to pre-pandemic levels there is a need for investment in world-class tourist facilities in the region.
An EAC investment report highlights a diverse range of development and investment opportunities in the region.
- Development of cultural sites
- Development of hotels
- Development of conference tourism, sports tourism, retirement tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism and cruise tourism both on the coast and in Lake Victoria in Kenya
- Construction of lodges and hotels to cater for the increasing number of tourists in Kenya
- Building new high-standard hotels/lodges/guest houses. Refurbishing and upgrading the existing hotels, lodges and restaurants in all key tourist destinations.
- Building a modern hotel at Nyanza, where the Nyanza Royal Palace, the seat of the former kings is situated, to cater for tourists who want to understand the traditional ways of life during pre-colonial Rwanda.
- Creating zoological and botanical gardens in major urban centres such as Kigali, Butare, Ruhengeri and Gisenyi.
- Creating boating and water sports facilities on Lake Kivu.
- Offering training in leisure and hospitality, hotel management, tour guiding, customer service.
- World-class accommodation facilities: hotels, lodges, guesthouses, entertainment and camping facilities. Joint-venture opportunities are available in Kilwa, Zanzibar, Mafia, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Selous, Katavi, Saadani, Babati and Bukoba.
- Ecotourism in the Eastern Arc mountain ranges of North Pare, the Usambaras, Uluguru and Udzungwa, and the mangrove forests of the Mtwara, Lindi, Coast and Tanga regions.
- Hotel development and/or campsites in some of the cultural heritage sites such as Bagamoyo, Pangani, Tabora and Kilwa.
- Development of deep-sea fishing, trophy hunting, and sea and lake cruising.
- Training in tourism activities.
- Tour operations and agency business.
- Investment in man-made tourist attractions like theme parks and gambling resorts.
- Water transport services along the coastal belt strip and inland waterways.
- Innovative tour operations and package programmes targeting national, regional and international visitors.
- Cruises on the River Nile.
- Cabin ferry services on Lake Victoria.
- Schools for the hospitality industry.
- High-quality hotel facilities.
Market as single tourism destination
Meanwhile the EAC has appealed to tourism companies to market the region as a single tourism destination as part of a post-COVID recovery plan.
Chairperson of the East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP), Fred Odek, said this would include, amongst others, developing special tour packages for the region covering airfare, popular attractions, and accommodation at reasonable rates.
Tourism in the region was badly hit, with the sector facing an up to 92% slowdown in cash flow, according to a recent report by the East Africa Business Council (EABC).
Tourism contributed an average of 8.1% to the EAC bloc’s GDP, 17.2% to export earnings, and accounted for 7.1% of employment in the region last year, the report highlighted.