Tourism year for Uganda

East African Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - BY SA­MUEL NABWIISO

KAMPALA-UGANDA -----Uganda’s Min­istry of Tourism has stated that the year 2017 is a year for tourism sec­tor de­vel­op­ment hence task­ing its tourism pro­mo­tion and con­ser­va­tion agen­cies to ini­ti­ate new ideas which will drive the sec­tor for the next four years. Ac­cord­ing to John Ssem­pebwa, the Deputy Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Uganda Tourism Board, they have come up with new ideas es­pe­cially in mar­ket­ing, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, re­search and qual­ity as­sur­ance with a main of pro­mot­ing the coun­try’s tourism sec­tor both in­ter­na­tion­ally and do­mes­ti­cally. “In 2017 we shall or­ga­nize the Sec­ond Africa Bird­ing Expo to show­case over 1000 species of birds seen in Uganda, an ac­co­lade which makes Uganda the only African coun­try with most bird species,” said Ssem­pebwa dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Kampala. Un­der mar­ket­ing, UTB will fo­cus more on tourism prod­ucts where the coun­try has more com­par­a­tive ad­van­tages like bird­ing and moun­tain climb­ing. “By the end of 2017 all Bird­ing and Moun­tain Climb­ing Clubs from around the world will have known Uganda’s birds and Moun­tains. This will be done through the birds and Moun­tain ex­pos,” he said. Other mar­ket­ing strate­gies which the tourism pro­mo­tions agency in­tends to rely on in­clude con­tin­ued use of In­ter­na­tional Public Re­la­tions firms, for­eign mis­sion to mar­ket the coun­try’s Tourism po­ten­tial and at­tend­ing In­ter­na­tional ex­pos. He said all these strate­gies, if well im­ple­mented, will bring in more visi­tor’s to the coun­try. Uganda re­cently con­tracted public re­la­tions firms to mar­ket Uganda in the United King­dom and Ger­many.

Un­der mar­ket­ing, UTB will fo­cus more on tourism prod­ucts where the coun­try has more com­par­a­tive ad­van­tages like bird­ing and moun­tain climb­ing

Ac­cord­ing to Ssem­pebwa, by end of 2017 the to­tal num­ber of vis­i­tors from the two coun­tries is ex­pected to in­crease. “The num­ber of tourists vis­it­ing Uganda from these coun­tries is ex­pected to in­crease by at least 35,000 this year. We shall con­tinue to host more per­sons from the tar­geted source mar­kets, per­son that we can work with to tell our sto­ries to the world,” he said. On do­mes­tic Tourism Mar­ket­ing Uganda Tourism Board will en­gage in school outreach pro­grammes where they ex­pect to reach out to very many schools and Ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions to cre­ate and main­tain tourism clubs while cre­at­ing more. On prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, Ssem­pebwa promised more Tourism prod­ucts such as Reli­gious Tourism, Cul­tural tourism and other prod­ucts. Uganda Wildlife Author­ity of­fi­cials, Uganda’s top con­ser­va­tion body, said they have put in place in­fra­struc­tures that sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of Tourism in­dus­try in 2017. Charles Tumwe­si­gye Di­rec­tor Con­ser­va­tion at UWA said they plan to con­struct more ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Na­tional parks by ex­pand­ing the ac­com­mo­da­tion ca­pac­ity in Kidepo Na­tional Park, Lake Mburo and Murchi­son Falls Na­tional Park. “UWA has given con­ces­sions to four pri­vate de­vel­op­ers to put ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Kidepo Val­ley and Lake Mburo Na­tional Park. The con­ces­sion process for ac­com­mo­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Murchi­son falls and Queen El­iz­a­beth Na­tional parks is in ad­vanced pro­cure­ment stage. These ini­tia­tives will in­crease af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion in the parks which is still big chal­lenge cur­rently,” said Tumwe­si­gye. On eas­ing Trans­port to sup­port do­mes­tic Tourism UWA plans to pro­cure five Tourism buses which will be ded­i­cated to tak­ing tourists to the na­tional parks of Murchi­son Falls, Queen El­iz­a­beth and oth­ers. Tumwe­si­gye said Trans­port is still a big chal­lenge af­fect­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Do­mes­tic tourism in the coun­try. Declar­ing 2017 as year for Tourism De­vel­op­ment the Min­is­ter of Tourism Ephraim Ka­muntu said the Min­istry is com­mit­ted to sup­port all Ini­tia­tives that are de­vel­oped with the In­ten­tion of driv­ing the sec­tor. Ka­muntu said the tourism sec­tor is among the 23 sec­tors which the pres­i­dent wants to be pro­moted be­cause of its ca­pac­ity to cre­ate more jobs in the Econ­omy.

Uganda’s Min­is­ter for Tourism Ephraim Ka­muntu (C), Min­is­ter of state for Tourism God­frey Ki­wanda (R) and Boni­face Bya­mukama from the As­so­ci­a­tion of Uganda Tour Op­er­a­tors (L) hold a plac­ard that de­clares 2017 a tourism year in Uganda and the year for tourism in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment.

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