Thematic Portfolio Social Protection in Central Africa - Uganda

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A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo

  • A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo
    • A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo
    • A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo
    • A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo
    • A call for sustainable tourism at Uganda’s Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) has continued to bring together hosted buyers, media, local suppliers of tourism products, and trade visitors in one place through face-to-face meetings that translate into long-term business relationships. This year’s event was celebrated under the theme; “Sustainable Tourism”. The event brought together tourism consumers and travel trade buyers to the heart of Kampala, Uganda to create business networking opportunities, education sessions, and inclusion of Uganda in the African specialist tour operators’ itineraries to increase Uganda’s destination awareness and recognition.

In a speech delivered by the Vice President, Jessica Alupo, during the opening ceremony, President Yoweri Museveni said that the government has prioritized tourism as a formidable growth sector of the economy, as exhibited in the past three National Development Plans. He said the country’s youthful population should be used to the advantage of the sector, especially in providing a vibrant labour force to the industry.

“There is no doubt that the most sustainable way for tourism to create a lasting impact is by ensuring higher economic growth. With an increasingly larger proportion of the population participating in this growth at the Parish Development Model, tourism should be anchored so that there is equity and inclusion at this lower level,” he explained. The president rallied the tourism sector managers to carefully listen to the investors and travelers to identify their concerns for better marketing of Uganda as a better tourism destination.

The CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Lilly Ajarova, said that the board is considering aggressive marketing of destination Uganda to new places, using all available marketing avenues. “We plan to expand our reach further through brand promotional campaigns, digital and mainstream media advertising, influencer marketing, and expo participation. We want to tell the story of our natural heritage, our past, our present, and write the stories of our future,” said Lilly.

The Honorable Minister of State for Finance and Planning, Amos Lugolobi said that their role as government is to focus on the mobilization of resources for development through collaboration and by working together with stakeholders to address challenges and seize opportunities for sustainable progress in Uganda’s tourism sector.

During a panel discussion on the impact of artificial intelligence on travel and tourism, the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University, Dr. Lawrence Muganga said that Uganda can become a global content creator, producing stunning virtual game parks, historical sites, and cultural events for platforms that support Virtual Realty, and even Netflix. This he said opens up a whole new revenue stream, allowing people worldwide to ‘visit’ Uganda from their living rooms, and sparking interest in experiencing the real attractions.
“Embracing these innovative approaches can create a vibrant and sustainable tourism sector that offers unforgettable tourism experiences for visitors while driving sustainable economic growth and development”, said Dr. Lawrence Muganga.

The Enabel Social Protection and Decent Work Project manager, Lucie Carlier in her speech during the closing ceremony said that the journey of promoting sustainable tourism in Uganda has been been one of coalition, collaboration and ambition to transform Uganda as a number one tourism destination in the whole world. “We firmly believe that sustainable tourism is not merely about attracting visitors; it is about fostering meaningful connections between travelers and the communities they visit”, said Lucie.

As part of this year's Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo, the Uganda Tourism Board, and Enabel recognised 10 “Early Adopters” of the Fair Trade Tourism Certification Uganda. These were;
I. Miika Eco Resort,
ii. Karamoja Safari Camp,
iii. Timu Eco Camp,
iv. Morungole Eco Camp,
v. Acholi Culinary Experience,
vi. Acholi Homestay,
vii. Turaco Treetops,
viii. Ruhija Community Rest Camp,
ix. Bushpig Backpackers, and
x. Muhabura Cultural Experience and Craft Centre.

The Sustainability and Fair Trade Tourism recognition, by the Uganda Tourism Board and Enabel, goes a long way in promoting Uganda as a sustainable tourism destination, an emerging tourism trend. More tourism and hospitality operators can continue to register for certification through the Fair Trade Tourism website

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) is an annual tourism and travel trade show organised by the Uganda Tourism Board. Each year, the expo brings together tourism value chain actors and stakeholders under the business-to-business and business-to-consumer formats, for networking opportunities, and business deals.

The eighth POATE event was held at Speke Resort and Convention Centre in Munyonyo, Kampala from 23rd to 25th May 2024. The three-day expo brought together 70 hosted buyers, 240 exhibitors, over 5,000 trade visitors, and consumers in the heart of Kampala.

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