Tanzania and Kenya tourism meeting

Tanzanian and Kenyan experts and government ministers are meeting in Arusha to try to improve bilateral agreements that regulate the tourist markets in the two countries.

One of the present difficulties is over the movement of tourist vehicles. In theory neither country allows the buses and safari vehicles of one country to operate in the other.

Under the terms of a 1985 bilateral agreement Kenyan and Tanzanian tourist vehicles should drop passengers off at border posts to be picked up by vehicles registered in the other country.

Transit is allowed to some towns in Tanzania, such as Arusha and Moshi and to all cities on the Kenyan side, but not to international airports, game reserves and parks. Kenya has relaxed many of the regulations over the years, but Tanzania still enforces them strictly.

Kenya has now tightened its policies especially about Tanzanian registered vehicles picking up passengers from Kenyatta international airport in Nairobi.

About 40 per cent of the one million tourists that visit Tanzania come through Nairobi rather than its own international airports. Dar es Salaam international airport is much further away than Nairobi from the main safari areas and Kilimanjaro international airport is smaller and therefore has fewer international connections.

Kenya is also complaining that Tanzania has not yet accepted an East African Community (EAC) proposal for a tourist visa for the five countries of the community, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. Only two EAC countries, Uganda and Kenya, have so far agreed to a joint tourist visa.

At a time when terrorism is a threat to the tourist trade in Kenya and Tanzania both are becoming more protective about their own markets.