Tourism in the East African Community (EAC): challenges, opportunities, and ways forward

Moses M. Okello, Marina Novelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Economic Road Map and Visions of the East African Community member states (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi) view tourism development not only as a key pillar for national development, but most importantly as a mechanism to alleviate poverty, generate foreign revenue for the government, and contribute to wildlife conservation. With exception of Kenya and Tanzania, which also have a well-developed coastal tourism segment, the remaining East African Community countries are landlocked, with nature and wildlife remaining as the only core tourism assets. Yet, their Economic Road Map and Visions foresee tourism as a key contributor to transforming their economies in the years to come. While this sounds like a honorable aspiration, most tourism revenues have been generated through narrow tourism products, such as wildlife and national parks, based on a few species (i.e. the big five and the mountain gorillas). Other challenges affecting the potential for tourism to flourish include political stability and governance, infrastructure development, service standards, and human capacity just to name a few. In this paper, drawing upon literature and previous research experiences of the authors, an overview on the state of tourism in the East African Community is presented with the aim to assess the main challenges,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-66
Number of pages14
JournalTourism and Hospitality Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2014


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