The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has urged Government to provide additional funding to a tune of Shs3.3bn to promote Uganda’s tourism at the ongoing Dubai Expo despite questions raised on the partial expenditure of Shs360M the Board received in the first batch of funds.
While appearing before Parliament’s Trade, Tourism and Industries Committee, Lilly Ajarova, Chief Executive Officer at UTB informed lawmakers that in preparation for the Expo 2020, the Uganda Tourism Board submitted budget estimates of Shs3.4bn to the Ministry of Finance.
Ajarova said that the Board also approached World Bank Project to lobby for additional funding to implement destination promotion activities during the Expo, but only received Shs360M for her participation at the Expo 2020.
In a statement tabled before the Committee, the remaining Shs3.3bn will go towards facilitating a number of activities including holding an investment dinner at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, consumer activations at the Uganda Pavilion, and procurement of additional promotional materials and this will cost Shs438.807Mn.
Another Shs2.995Bn will go towards the expenditure on the Pearl of Africa Destination Branding slated for February and March 2022 and this would target the local and international media present at the Dubai Expo 2020.
“The Board will work with the Uganda Embassy in Abu Dhabi to conduct digital marketing activations, media buying in leading travel publications and broadcast media, fam trips for leading tour operators, and facilitation of the Uganda Tourism Delegation during the Expo,” said Ajoravo.
UTB’s request comes at the time the Committee queried the expenditure of Sgs360M after realizing that over half of the funds were spent on travel and per diem allowances for the officials who traveled for the expo in Dubai.
However, the Board defended the need for additional funding arguing that following the investment of Shs360M by the Government in the Dubai Expo, the Board projects the arrival of 5000 tourists from the Gulf states each spending a minimum of USD1000 who were persuaded to visit Uganda through the tourism marketing activation that UTB will conduct at the Dubai Expo 2020.
Ajarova said, “This will generate approximately USD5,000,000 which translates to Shs18Bn in tourism revenue.”
She also said that UBT and the tourism delegation will hold key meetings with investors in the UAE to attract hotel investments in the sector projected at USD10M about Shs36Bn by international hotel chains on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo.
The Board also said that the Expo enabled Uganda to increase its destinations awareness through estimated advertising and advertorial equivalency of Shs7.2Bn in the leading national and international media in the Gulf states through print and digital media in the six months of the expo.
Ajarova also said that UTB will create at least 60 business linkages for Uganda’s private sector participation during the Dubai Expo 2020. The linkages are estimated at over Shs8.461M per lead will yield over Shs507.668M.