Kampala. The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has unveiled a series of activities to link international tourists to local business people in a bid to promote the local tourism industry.
Speaking at a press conference about the upcoming 4th Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE), UTB executive director Stephen Asiimwe said Uganda is gifted by nature, which Ugandans should exploit to earn more money through tourism.
“We are projecting to get about Shs2.5b from tourism by 2020. POATE is one of the events that will join the international businessmen to Ugandans to make sure they strengthen the current network,” Mr Asiimwe said in Kampala yesterday.
He added that the three-day event, which is scheduled for February 23 to February 25 in Kampala, will see Uganda host more than 50,000 tourists from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa, under the theme ‘Rediscovering the Pearl.’
The UTB executive director added that the event, which is open to all Ugandans at no cost, will showcase a mini zoo, different Ugandan cuisines, different Ugandan cultures, children entertainment, and business meetings, among others.
However, Mr Asiimwe said the prohibitive charges at tourism facilities in the country is a disincentive for domestic and foreign tourists.
He said much as tourism’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown tremendously in the past 10 years, the cost for facilities in Uganda could be higher than those of other African countries.
“When you compare the facilities [cost] offered in Uganda, especially the accommodation, we are slightly higher than Kenya and Tanzania. This is a problem found mostly in the upcountry areas. That is why we should invest in this area,” Mr Asiimwe said.
A five-star hotel per night in Uganda charges between Shs200,000 and Shs800,000, which according to the UTB boss, is higher than in other East African countries.
“We have settled this problem around Kampala and Entebbe but as you go to other areas, the prices go higher. Tourists will calculate how much they would pay for a night after seeing a lion in Uganda, compare it with the same in Kenya and Tanzania and they will opt for the cheapest,” he said.
Tourism contributes more than 10 per cent of GDP. Since 2007, tourism revenue has grown from Shs400m to more than Shs1.2 billion as of 2017 and it is expected grow further to Shs2.5 billion in 2020. Tourism employs more than 2m people directly and indirectly.
Date. According to Mr Asiimwe the event is scheduled for February 23 to February 25 in Kampala under the theme ‘Rediscovering the Pearl.’
Activities. The event, which is open to all Ugandans at no cost, will showcase a mini zoo, different Ugandan cuisines, different Ugandan cultures, children entertainment, and business meetings, among others.