Uganda has in the past months been doing intensive tourism marketing abroad, especially in North America. Promoters have been and are still doing everything they possibly can to get tourists and travel agents to visit Uganda and experience what it truly has to offer as a tourist destination.
11 travel agents from Canada took the bait and visited Uganda last week; a sign that all the efforts to sell the country as a tourist destination are not being done in vain. Uganda tourism Board, hosted the Canadian travel agents in an effort get them to see Uganda, and also counter all the negative publicity the country has been receiving since the passing of the anti-gay law. The negative publicity has had a pretty devastating effect on Uganda’s tourism industry and Africa as a whole especially with threats of cutting aid coming from all directions. The European countries have since opted for dialogue though.
Speaking to the guests at the Carnival Restaurant in Naguru Kampala, UTB chief, Stephen Asiimwe asked the travel specialists to encourage and promote Uganda as a tourist destination for their American and Canadian clients. He highlighted a few things that make Uganda such a good safari destination, such as the snow capped mountains, the river Nile, Murchison falls.
Hopefully the Canadian travel; agents will promote safaris in Uganda when they get back home. One of the team’s senior officers Daniel Gordon Brown acknowledged Uganda’s fabulous tourism potential and the need to exploit it. He encouraged investment in tourism saying that there was more money to be earned in tourism than in any other sector. He also encouraged wildlife protection and conservation. He also urged Ugandans to guard their rich heritage jealously.
Uganda wildlife authority’s Dr Andrew Seguya, was part of the team that has worked to make this visit happen and was present at the dinner. In his short remarks, he said that the country was avoiding mass tourism in order to preserve its heritage. Uganda Wildlife Authority has for example limits the number of visitors entering the parks or the number of people on gorilla tracking trips as a way of preserving and conserving its wildlife.
The visiting travel agents were asked for their honest opinions about Uganda and tourism in Uganda as a way of helping the sector improve. The cooperation between the two countries concerning tourism was the highlight of the evening.
It is definitely just the beginning; hopefully Uganda will reap more from its extensive marketing.