, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – Tourist vans registered in Tanzania will not be allowed into Kenya’s airport, airstrips and national parks and reserves starting Friday midnight.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie says Kenya has taken the move to ensure fair play in the sector since Kenya tour vans have not been allowed in Tanzania parks and airports for a long period.
“From today February 6, 2015, at midnight, Tanzania registered tour vans will not be allowed to pick, drop or exchange passengers at all tourism sites, airstrips and airports, including Jomo Kenyatta International Airports, JKIA,” Kandie announced during a media briefing.
On December 22 last year, Kenyan authorities put the ban on Tanzanian-registered vehicles from dropping off or picking up passengers at JKIA and other airports and tourism sites.
But Tanzania requested for negotiations with Kenya to have the ban lifted for a period of three weeks.
However Kandie says there has been no dialogue between the two countries for within the given period pushing Kenya to get back to the full implementation of a 1985 bilateral agreement.
The agreement does not allow tour vans to access parks and airports in either of the countries and which Kenya has not been fully implementing unlike Tanzania.
“The Minister of Tourism and Natural Resources (Lazaro Nyalandu), of the United Republic of Tanzania came to Kenya and requested for a three-week window for talks. Those three weeks have now expired without Tanzania counterparts convening the meeting for negotiations. We have therefore resolved to move forward with the full implementation of the bilateral agreement,” the CS said.
However, Kandie however says in the spirit of East Africa integration, Tanzania vans will be allowed to drop and exchange tourists in all the towns in Kenya despite Kenya vans having limited entry in Tanzania.
Kenyan vans will continue to drop their tourists in Tanga, Moshi, Arusha and Musoma.
In March last year the two East African States reverted to their 1985 bilateral agreement as an interim measure to resolve their differences in efforts to protect the multi-million-dollar tourism industry.
It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of about one million tourists visiting Tanzania annually pass through JKIA before crossing overland into the Tanzania national parks.