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East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill

Joint tourism body bill passed by EA House

ALLAN ODHIAMBO  Feb 15, 2010

The regional Assembly has passed a Bill that could see East African countries jointly manage their high potential tourism and wildlife sectors.

The East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Management Bill, 2008 that was cleared by the regional Parliament on Thursday seeks to establish a co-operation framework through which resource management will be managed by a joint Commission to be set up by member states.

The private member’s Bill was moved by Kenya’s Ms Safina Kwekwe Tsungu.

“In effect, the Bill seeks to operationalise Articles 114, 115 and 116 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community which makes provision for establishing a framework for co-operation in natural resources management, including the management of tourism and wildlife,” the EAC secretariat said in a statement noting that the Bill would soon be presented to the regional Heads of State for assent.

In passing the Bill the Assembly proposes the establishment of a Commission, to be referred to as the East African Tourism and Wildlife Management Commission, to coordinate the development of the tourism sector in the region.

According to the Bill, the Commission will be charged with the responsibility of supervising, coordinating and managing all matters that relate to the promotion, marketing and development of the tourism and wildlife industry in the East African region.

The Commission will be accountable to the EAC Council of ministers and its headquarters will be situated where the ministers may determine.

The organs of the Commission will comprise of a board, a stakeholders’ advisory council, and a secretariat office.

Ms Tsungu said the Bill seeks to promote tourism development within the region through facilitation of common policies for all players involved including the government.

“It is therefore imperative to charge this responsibility, through the relevant legislation, to a legally constituted framework that defines parameters to work out and coordinate the cooperation areas in this very important livelihood and income generating sector for the entire region,” she said.

The passing of the Bill is expected to provide a boost to ongoing initiatives in which EAC countries are jointly marketing the region as a tourism destination.

The countries have even moved to try and harmonise the classification of their hospitality industry facilities such as hotels.

Kenya has just finalised training assessors to handle the task of coming up with new classification.

Tourism is one the productive sectors identified under the areas of cooperation agreed upon by partner States in their current third EAC 2006-2010 development strategy set to end this year.

As part of the strategy objectives, regional states are looking up to enhancing the marketing and promotion of East Africa as a single tourist destination, operationalising the East African Tourism and Wildlife Conservation Agency, implement the criteria for classification of tourist facilities and harmonise policies and legislation on wildlife conservation.

Joint tourism body bill passed by EA House
EAC heads of state / Photograph by Phoebe Okall


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