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Regardless of a person’s nationality, a visa is no longer needed to visit Kenya.

The first group of foreign tourists who crossed the border into the country without a visa arrived on Friday. The tourists flew into Nairobi from Ethiopia.

The news was announced late last year by President William Ruto and came into effect earlier this week.

Under the new system, tourists will be required to apply online for an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) and pay a processing fee of R560.

Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok said at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that “right now… all countries around the world including Africa, Asia, America, Australia, and all over the world, are able to come in visa-free”.

The arrival and speech come after the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority warned that the system is still “in the process of development and implementation”.

The aim of the waiving of the visa is to boost tourist numbers. Although 1.54 million foreign tourists visited Kenya in 2022, it’s still not near the numbers the country was used to before the Covid pandemic.

With the visa-free system, the local tourism board hopes to surpass the current figures.

Image credit: Brilliant Africa

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