Boost for East Africa Tourism as its private sector body is feted for online and destination awareness marketing tool at the 12th UNWTO Award in Madrid.

Nairobi 21st January, 2016…East Africa private sector body, East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) has emerged First runner up of the UNWTO Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance for its multi-destination knowledge management tool at the 12th UNWTO Awards EATP was among a total of 17 projects from Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe that were selected from a total of 109 candidacies, as finalist of the 12th UNWTO Awards on Excellence and Innovation in Tourism. Winners in the four categories of Public Policy and governance, Research and Technology Enterprises and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were announced Wednesday night at the UNWTO Awards Ceremony and gala dinner at Fitur in Madrid, Spain.

The East Africa Tourism Platform Executive Director Ms. Carmen Nibigira during the award UNWTO Awards Ceremony and gala dinner at Fitur in Madrid, Spain on 20th January 2016
The East Africa Tourism Platform Executive Director Ms. Carmen Nibigira during the award UNWTO Awards Ceremony and gala dinner at Fitur in Madrid, Spain on 20th January 2016

The Award recognizes initiatives that are highly innovative and managed by a public or public-private institution that reflects tangible and sustainable improvements in policy, processes, and governance. Speaking after receiving the award on behalf of the 5 countries, EATP Regional Co-ordinator Ms Carmen Nibigira says the Multi-destination Knowledge management tool developed by EATP was nominated and awarded for its works towards an inclusive model of tourism governance which involves diverse tourism stakeholders.

“Through this tool, regional tourism stakeholders have started trading each other’s products, packaging tourism products without borders, bench-marking amongst themselves and learning from each other. We are one people, but with a rich cultural diversity that needs to be tapped and harnessed for the benefit of developing tourism and our economies at large” said Mrs Nibigira Kenya Tourism Minister Najib Balala who was at the event lauded the win as a big boost for the East Africa Tourism Product. Nominees in the category of Public Policy and Governance for the 12th UNWTO awards included East Africa Tourism Platform Multi-destination knowledge management tool; a public sector initiative to fight the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism sector in Medelin (Colombia), a project by the government of Banyuwangi in Indonesia promoting ICT in tourism and the Green certification Programme of Puerto Rico.

With EATP’s core objective being to provide positive and results oriented policy advocacy, EATP’s multidestination tool is an online too that will see over 10,000 tourism operators across the East African region trained and exposed to cross selling products across the 5 countries. EATP Former Regional Tourism Co-ordinator Ms Waturi Matu noted that initially players in the five East Africa countries were hesitant to cross sell each other’s tourism products fearing it would mean less business for each other. “However players are now very open to the wide range of products they are being able to provide to their clients as result of this tool .With this kind of awareness we foresee in the near future the East Africa region attracting long stay clients who spend close to 21 days in the participating countries as a result of the variety of products they can enjoy across the region. Which means more tourism income for all,” Ms Matu said.

EATP can be credited for advocating for the single tourist visa, use of national IDs as travel documents for citizens between Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, free movement of tourism services, partial liberalization of EAC air space and joint marketing initiatives which is mainly under the East Africa Northern Corridor. These initiatives have already started having positive effects on regional travel. Other initiatives such as joint marketing initiatives, technical support for national associations or harmonization of standards and codes of conduct of tourism facilities and services are on-going and will enhance the regional destination competitiveness.


About East Africa Tourism Platform:

East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is the private sector body for tourism in East Africa, working towards promoting the interest and participation of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) integration process. EATP is the first regional tourism apex body put into place, able to lobby at the EAC level and at the level of national governments. The vision of creating and promoting a vibrant and diverse single tourism destination is the driving force. EATP promotes intra and inter-regional tourism though advocacy, marketing, skills development, research and information sharing.

About UNWTO Awards:

The UNWTO Awards, created by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), are the flagship awards for the global tourism sector. Every year, they are conferred by the UNWTO and the UNWTO Knowledge Network to highlight and showcase innovation and application of Knowledge in Tourism. In doing so, the UNWTO Awards seek to recognize and stimulate knowledge creation, dissemination and innovative applications in tourism and to bring to light the latest advances in the area. This has a transversal effect on governance and society at large.

EATP: Finalist at the 12th edition of the UNWTO Awards:

East Africa Tourism Platform, with its multi-destination knowledge management tool, was nominated as finalist at the 12th edition of the UNWTO Awards in the category of Public Policy and Governance alongside projects from Colombia, Indonesia and Puerto Rico. Ms Carmen Nibigira, EATP’s Regional Coordinator, attended the event, representing the tourism private sector in East Africa and presenting EATP’s projects during the UNWTO Awards Forum held on 18 January 2016 at Palacio Neptuno, Madrid. Today through EATP’s program, a new conversation has been engaged; a conversation on how East Africa can be branded packaged and sold as one single tourism destination.

By assisting the five countries Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania tourism stakeholders to help define who they are and what they offer and in turn help communicate this to fellow East Africans and its residents and to the outside world. With this tool EATP goes back to the fundamental discussion of how to build and strengthen regional tourism within East Africa by building a strong foundation for sustainable tourism through integrated program involving public and public sector. Tourism is helping in driving the regional economies to greater heights because tourism is a big employer of youth and is also a catalyst to other sectors such as agri-business and the services sector.

Source: TradeMark Africa (TMA)


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.