Elephants at the Amboseli game park in Kenya with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background. EAC citizens will pay a uniform entry fee to Tanzanias parks. Photo/ANTHONY KAMAU By McADAMS MICHAEL The East African March 22, 2010 Residents of the East African Community will now pay the same fees as Tanzanians to enter the countrys national parks. This is to inform you that the nationals of Rwanda and Burundi are to be charged preferential rates just like those of Kenya and Uganda, said Tanzania National Parks Authority in a letter to all chief park wardens. This arrangement is in line with the EAC plan to promote the region as a single tourism destination, Tanapa spokesman Pascal Shelutete said. This means EAC residents will pay Tsh1,500 (about $1) for adults and Tsh500 (about US cents 35) for children to visit any national park in Tanzania per day. Analysts believe the uniform fee directive is timely and will boost the industry in the East African Common Market with nearly 130 million consumers and a combined GDP of nearly $60 billion. In 2006, each of the three founding EAC partner states of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda were charging different figures for non-citizens. In Uganda, the entrance fee for EA citizens to any of the countrys national parks was $10 per day while Ugandans were charged Ush5,000 ($2.5). In Tanzania, the entry fees to Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti for foreign tourists and EAC residents was $60 and $50 respectively. In Kenya, the average fee for non-citizens was set at $30 per adult and $10 per student or child, per day. Meanwhile, sources at the EAC Secretariat say a task force appointed to study the regions preparedness for a single tourist visa will present its report in June this year. The partner states are still consulting on the matter with a possibility of a trial visa introduced first, as they try to harmonise their tourism policies and laws, the source explained. The Secretariat is reported to have approached the partner states seeking information from the immigration departments on visa regulations and visa statistics from major tourism market countries. Trial visa Sources added that there was a likelihood of starting with a trial single visa in June this year, to determine whether EA is ready to introduce a single tourist visa for the region. Experts working on the matter want visitor statistics from the sample countries that will participate in the suggested trial visa before the actual document is introduced. The major source markets for tourists coming to East Africa are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa and Scandinavian countries. Also sought is information on information and communication technology (ICT) systems used by the partner states to network with various centres such as border points and embassies. Recently, tourism players based in Arusha faulted EAC governments for delaying the single tourist entry visa for the region. Tourists visiting the region often spend hours crossing from one EAC state to another because they need different visas for each country.