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Ruto mulls scrapping visa for all tourists

By Mercy Simiyu September 4th, 2023 2 min read

President William Ruto says his government could soon abolish Visa requirements for all citizens visiting Kenya.

Speaking at the Climate Summit at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi on September 4, 2023, the Head of State explained that the move, when implemented, will foster a more open and inclusive approach to international travel.

“We are seriously considering abolishing visa requirements because it is unfair to ask anybody who is coming home for a VISA. I welcome all delegates who responded positively to the invite at this inaugural summit. We strive to build a future of prosperity for Africa and the world,” said President William Ruto.

The Africa Summit, a pioneering event, convened about 10,000 leaders comprising policymakers, business magnates, and representatives from various industries, all united in their goal of shaping a prosperous and united Africa.

President Ruto’s proposal to eliminate visa requirements sends a powerful message about Kenya’s commitment to facilitating international travel and engagement.

The potential abolition of visa requirements is expected to have profound implications for Kenya’s tourism and business sectors.

By removing these barriers, President Ruto aims to promote increased tourism, foreign investments, and trade within the country, positioning Kenya as an attractive destination for business and leisure.

Tourism is among Kenya’s biggest foreign earners. Kenya receives up to 1.5 million visitors each year, with a majority keen on sampling the country’s safari, which including a trip to see the big five wild animals such as the lion, elephant, and giraffe.

Kenya’s coastal beaches located in Mombasa, Ukunda, Diani and Lamu have also emerged as a tourist attraction.

Other tourists come to Kenya for work and business.

President Ruto recently lifted visa requirements on Indonesian passport holders after bilateral talks with President Joko Widodo in Nairobi.

President Ruto stated, “On our part as Kenya, we have taken the decision to extend visa-free entry not only to holders of diplomatic and service passports but also to all holders of Indonesian passports.” This move underscores Kenya’s commitment to being open for business and welcoming to international visitors.

Additionally, Kenya has been proactive in pursuing visa-free agreements with other nations. In February 2023, Kenya and Eritrea agreed to permanently scrap visa requirements for their citizens, further facilitating travel and trade between the two countries.

Kenya has also struck similar deals with Djibouti and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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