Issue tourist visas on arrival at JKIA

In Summary

• The new online Electronic Authorisation system demands an excessive amount of information in advance from tourists

• In December President Ruto promised visa-free entry to Kenya for  all visitors

Tourists enjoy dances by the Sengenya dancing troupe at the Port of Mombasa on Friday
Tourists enjoy dances by the Sengenya dancing troupe at the Port of Mombasa on Friday

Kenya is losing international tourists because the new Electronic Travel Authorisation system is cumbersome and inefficient.

Ironically President Ruto promised visa-free entry for all visitors to Kenya in December.

Instead citizens of 41 countries that were previously exempted, including EAC members, now have to apply for visas before travelling to Kenya. Things have got worse, not better.

To make matters worse, a huge amount of information is demanded online in advance from every visitor, including proof of air ticket and hotel booking, supposedly so government can keep them safe while they are in Kenya. Does anyone even check this information before granting a visa? And why would a tourist buy an air ticket before getting a visa?

The system should be automatic. So long as the visitor's name is not on a list of prohibited persons, an online visa should be issued instantaneously. 

In the age of electronic passports and facial recognition software, there is no need for such a bureaucratic system which is chasing visitors away from Kenya.

Tanzania, Kenya's main rival for tourists, issues visas on arrival. Let's return to that system ourselves. This rigid digital system is worse than what went before.

Quote of the day: "A good man can be stupid and still be good. But a bad man must have brains."

Maxim Gorky
The Russian writer was born on March 28, 1886

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