Travel agents welcomed a decision by the government to scrap visa requirements for all international visitors effective January 1, 2023.

Through their umbrella body, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), they said that the move reinforces the state’s commitment to strengthening ties with global partners.

President William Ruto announced during the Jamhuri holiday on Tuesday that the country will be opening its doors to all visitors.

The removal of visa requirements aligns with the African Union’s (AU’s) call to member states to eliminate barriers to international business, promote cultural exchange, and build communal relationships to speed up the integration process.

It further reinforces Kenya’s commitment to the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to enhance the continent’s economic integration, facilitate the movement of people, and promote seamless trade and business activities.

KATA is now urging other AU member states to emulate Kenya’s example and eliminate barriers to promote intra-African travel and trade.

“While expressing appreciation for the President’s announcement, KATA urges government agencies to move with speed to issue proper guidelines on how the proposed Electronic Travel Authorization will be implemented,” KATA said in a statement.

“Considering that we are already in the peak holiday season, KATA would like to see a seamless process that does not inconvenience travelers who have already made their travel arrangements.”

By Fred Odanga.