President Ruto’s Visa Free Program has officially commenced, with the first batch of visa-free international travelers arriving at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok confirmed that 2,141 travelers have been approved under the new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) model.

Bitok emphasized the simplicity and efficiency of the ETA application process, noting that over 5,000 applications have already been received. He stated, “It’s very easy to apply and get an ETA. You just need to fill in your personal data in ten minutes and you should be able to get approval in 72 hours. We have made sure that traveling to Kenya is going to be an easy and pleasant experience.”

The first batch of visa-free travelers arrived on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 318 from Addis Ababa and were warmly received by the PS. Passengers expressed their satisfaction with the ETA process, highlighting its simplicity and speed compared to the previous visa application system.

South Korean national Kyunga Sang Yoo, a frequent visitor to Kenya, praised the new system, stating, “We used to spend long hours going through the Visa application but it took me a few minutes to complete the ETA process for my entire family.”

PS Bitok also outlined the government’s expectations, aiming to compensate for the lost revenue from visa applications through increased spending by a higher number of tourists. He added, “On average, each visitor spends around Ksh.500,000 within three months in Kenya. We believe we can grow the annual revenue from increased tourism to Ksh.1.5 trillion every year.”

Furthermore, Bitok dismissed concerns about security, emphasizing that the new ETA system provides better means of identifying and managing visitors. He also expressed hope for reciprocal visa-free arrangements for Kenyan citizens from other countries.