The highly anticipated 3rd East African Regional Tourism Expo and this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo (EARTEMKTE 2023) kicked off with fervor at the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi. The first day, marked by the grand opening ceremony, was a captivating journey through the diverse and rich cultures of the East African Community (EAC).
A Tapestry of Cultures Unveiled
The heartbeat of the continent echoed through the halls as all seven member countries of the EAC took center stage, offering patrons a delightful immersion into their unique cultures. In a continent that resonates with beats and rhythm, the performances were a testament to the vibrant tapestry of East African traditions. From the captivating rhythms of the Bomas of Kenya to the rhythmic sounds of the Ingomas of Burundi and the enchanting dancers from Rwanda, attendees were treated to a mesmerizing display of traditional music and dance.
South Sudan’s Generous Gesture
The opening ceremony was not only a showcase of cultural richness but also an opportunity for each EAC country to present its tourism highlights. Among them, South Sudan stood out as its Wildlife and Tourism Minister, Gen. Rizig Zachariah Hassan prior to his speech, presented thoughtful gifts to fellow ministers and dignitaries. These gifts served as enticing glimpses into South Sudan’s expansive tourism offerings and hospitality, setting the stage for a compelling narrative.
South Africa Takes the Spotlight
Adding a new chapter to the expo’s history, South Africa made its debut appearance. Led by Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela, the rainbow nation proudly flaunted its tourism credentials. Mahlalela highlighted the significance of the visa waiver agreement between South Africa and Kenya, attributing it to the increased influx of Kenyan visitors. Furthermore, he unveiled plans to extend such agreements to other East African countries and the broader African continent, signaling a commitment to regional collaboration.
Culmination at Bomas of Kenya
As the intensity of the opening day subsided, Kenya orchestrated a spectacular cultural finale at the renowned Bomas of Kenya. The venue transformed into a melting pot of EAC cultures, with each country contributing to an unforgettable night of food, music, and dance. From the resounding drums of Burundi to Uganda’s Baganda Dance, Tanzania’s Taarab Dance, Rwanda’s Rusanganizayo, and the lively displays from South Sudan and Kenya, the night provided the perfect backdrop for patrons to unwind and immerse themselves in the richness of East African heritage.
The curtain fell on the first day of EARTEMKTE 2023, leaving attendees eager for more, anticipating what the subsequent days of this cultural extravaganza had in store.
To access photos from the welcome cocktail night, click here.