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Global payments technology company Visa is collaborating with East African Tourism Platform (EATP) to strengthen global tourism interest in the region and promote inbound tourism spend.
The year-long collaboration will focus on various initiatives across the region such as the sharing of best practices in the tourism and payments industries, promoting access to the electronic payments chain, and implementing stakeholder networking forums in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. It will also see the two organizations work closely to promote card spend in the region and provide insights into payment behaviour of visiting cardholders.
‘‘We continue to affirm our commitment to supporting the tourism sector as a key driver of economic development and wealth creation. We believe this collaboration will streamline revenue collection and encourage more tourist spend in the region,’’ said Visa Head of Cross-Border Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa Jodie Schorn.
Through this collaboration, Visa will help boost electronic transactions in the tourism industry by providing strategic input on setting up secure online payments platforms, offering advice about planning and paying for travel with payment cards, and educating trade partners and consumers on the benefits of card payments.
‘‘East Africa remains a leading tourist destination due to the unique attractions across the region. Enhancing the visibility of retailers’ card terminals at the point of sale is just one way we can increase inbound spending,’’ added Schorn.
The benefits of increased acceptance of electronic payments within the region’s economies may include convenience for visiting cardholders, guaranteed payment and efficiency for local merchants, and better security of payments, as well as the impetus for further economic and social development.
‘‘The aim of the collaboration is to maximize the efforts of East Africa Tourism Platform to promote intra- and inter-regional tourism in East Africa and to encourage the use of electronic payments in the region,’’ said EATP Coordinator Waturi Matu, adding that electronic payments accounted for about 5% of all inbound tourist spend in the region.
The collaboration comes at a time when the region has recorded notable achievements in the tourism sector owing to the East African Community (EAC) partner states working together to market the region as a single destination.
Recently, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni called for fast tracking the creation of a single EAC tourist visa to facilitate tourism in the region. The private sector in tourism hopes that the EAC Tourism Protocol will be passed and ratified soon, so as to widen and deepen cooperation among the partner states in promoting quality tourism and conservation and sustainable utilization of wildlife and other tourist sites within the EAC.
The collaboration with Visa will also look at measures aimed at further strengthening inflows from both emerging markets, such as China and India, and traditional markets, such as the United Kingdom, United States and Germany.
‘‘We anticipate that the alliance will increase national and regional uptake of tourism-related services, grow electronic payment transactions, volumes and values whilst increasing access in the entire tourism value chain,’’ added Matu.
‘‘Through networking forums, we will raise awareness and promote the use of electronic payments so as to increase national and regional tourism transactions, online trading, increase tourism spend and reduce business risks,” concluded Matu.
– Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome