Tanzanian and rwandan tour operators have signed an agreement to promote their tourism products as one package.

The pact between the Tanzania Association of Travel Operators (TATO) and Rwanda Tours and Travel Association (RTTA) signed in Kigali on March 5, is designed to market the two countries as complementary destinations and offer more products to tourists.

“The key objectives of this strategic partnership is to make the best use of our comparative tourist products advantages for mutual benefits.

We are hopeful that it will be a fruitful partnership,” said TATO chief executive officer Sirili Akko, who signed the deal with the RTTA vice chairperson Carolyn Namatovu.

The agreement was the culmination of a networking event in Kigali to share ideas on how to improve tourist numbers in the two countries.

The organisations will introduce travel itineraries that cut across the border.

Rwanda and Tanzania are popular tourist destinations, and each country recognises tourism as an important forex earner.

The sector contributes over 50 per cent of Rwanda’s gross domestic product, mainly through the sale of permits to track the endangered mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. The cost of one such permit was doubled from $750 to $1,500 in 2017.

Other top tourism products offered by Rwanda are chimpanzee watching and a canopy walk offering scenic views in Nyungwe Forest National Park, plus kayaking and boat cruising in Lake Kivu.

Tanzania is known for exceptional wildlife viewing safaris in its national parks, which now is number 21 after five more were established earlier this year.

It also offers treks to Africa’s highest point at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and visits to Zanzibar’s tropical beaches.

The annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park is among the must-sees for visitors. According to official figures, tourism contributed about 25 per cent of the county’s total foreign exchange earnings last year.

Tanzania has in the past shown reluctance to fully implement the East African Community Tourism and Wildlife Protocol, preferring instead to go it alone. Under the protocol, partner states agreed to sell the entire bloc as a single tourist destination.