Already in December 2023, Kenya announced that it would abolish visas for tourists. Now it turns out that there is a catch to this change. Visitors will still have to pay a certain cost.
Kenya has recently become an extremely popular holiday destination. Now interest in this corner may increase even more, as the state authorities have announced that they are abolishing visas for tourists. However, it turns out that there is a catch with this option. It’s worth reading about it.
Kenya abolishes visas. There’s a catch
It seemed like traveling to one of Africa’s most popular destinations would become much easier in 2024 when the Kenyan government announced that tourists would no longer need a visa. But then it turned out that there was a catch.
Although many foreign visitors no longer have to purchase a visa costing more than $50 (approx. PLN 200), now almost everyone – including some countries whose citizens previously enjoyed free entry – must pay $34 (approx. PLN 130) for electronic travel permit.
The move sparked criticism, with many people expressing their outrage on social media. Some in the tourism industry have warned that this could have a major impact on tourism at a time when the country is hoping to attract more tourists.
The additional charges caused outrage
Kenyan President William Ruto is advocating for a borderless Africa, calling on countries to abolish visas and continue the free movement of people and goods across the continent.
But since the new policy came into force in early January, people across the continent have taken to social media to complain that the opposite is happening. When the ETA came into force in the first week of January, Jones Ntaukira, a frequent business traveler from Malawi, expressed surprise at the move on X.
The founder of energy startup Zuwa Energy told CNN that for someone who often travels to Nairobi at short notice to meet with partners and investors, the new rules pose an obstacle.
“Now you have to plan your trip four days in advance. It’s not even about the $30, but the process of applying online, waiting three days, and then submitting your documents. We didn’t have that before,” he says.
The rules regarding children have also changed. Previously, children up to 16 years of age from several countries did not have to pay for a visa. Now they have to pay the ETA fee.
The Kenya Tourism Board hopes to attract 5.5 million tourists annually over the next four years. However, critics of the new policy question the new policy. “The time you spend applying for entry is sometimes discouraging – you decide not to do something you would do and do it somewhere else or in a different way,” Ntaukira said.
What do you think about it?