The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) in partnership with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), Mastercard Foundation and Adventure Vacation Safaris are hosting a domestic tourism promotion tour at Murchison Falls in a bid to promote domestic tourism, and revive the tourism industry which was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dubbed ‘’Fellowship on the Nile’’ which will run between 25th – 27th March, 2022, the UTB and its partners are hosting Ugandan Rotarians who will after the tour become Ambassadors of Uganda’s tourism industry.
After the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector, not only in Uganda but world over was the worst hit due total global lockdown.
The PSFU Chief Membership Officer, Francis Kisirinya said the country needed to find a mechanism of reviving the tourism sector, and help it build resilience to survive the challenge.
With its partners in tourism sector, Kisirinya said PSFU under its Economic Recovery programme, are endeavouring to re-market and encourage Ugandans to visit the country’s tourism destinations so as to build local tourism.
“Under Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU), we decided as a country to give credit to our goods and services. As Ugandans, it is very important for us to spend the money in our services. As Ugandans, we should take advantage and visit your parks. We believe that when we all play a role, the tourism Sector will recover quicker, and build resilience. It will stop depending mainly in foreigners for survival,” said Kisirinya.
Over 50 leaders of the Rotary clubs across Uganda are taking part in the tour.
The domestic tourism promotional tour comes just a few months after UTB launched the ‘’Explore Uganda’’ – the Pearl of Africa brand that is aimed at communicating the unique tourism proposition in the domestic, regional and international marketplace for increased tourism numbers.
UTB said the tour is a unique opportunity to roll-out the new destination brand – ‘Explore Uganda’’
UTB Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Bradford Ochieng said, “we are rallying everyone to choose Uganda as a country of first choice. We all have a role in marketing this country. We are happy that Rotarians are leading by example.”
Before COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda’s tourism sector was one of the fastest growing sectors. The sector generated $1.6 billion in Forex earnings for 2018 compared to $1.45 billion in 2017, accounting for 7.7% of the national GDP.
The number of international visitor arrivals increased by 7.4% from 1,402,409 in 2017 to 1,505,669 in 2018.
However, following the outbreak of pandemic, the country received 512,945 tourists in 2021.
To return to the pre pandemic arrivals, UTB developed a Strategic Plan and a Recovery Marketing Strategy to propel the sector to recovery through interventions such as domestic tourism promotion and destination branding.
As a result, Ochieng said the new brand — Explore Uganda is aimed to “communicate and position Uganda as a highlights reel of all that is rare, precious and beautiful in Africa. The new brand promise seeks to reemphasize Uganda’s rare depth, beautiful range and precious variety of attractions for a competitive market share.”
Mr Peace Taremwa, the incoming District Governor for district 9214; Uganda and Tanzania said the partnership is a great initiative that will showcase Uganda’s endowment.
He added that ‘other than people going for foreign trips abroad, “COVID-19 exposed the beauty within our backyard. It is time for Ugandans to appreciate the country’s diverse and unique tourist attractions including; freshwater bodies, flora and fauna, diverse cultures, hospitality, temperate climate, culinary among others.”
Farouk Busuulwa, the Managing Director – Adventure Vacation Safaris said the partnership will inspire Rotary leaders and club members to visit the country’s prized tourism attractions starting off with Murchison Falls Park which has several unique features; famous big five animal species, a watershed that connects River Nile from its source in Jinja city to Egypt to drain into the Mediterranean Sea.
‘’The Fellowship on the Nile domestic tourism promotional tour will emphasize the Pearl of Africa brand’s invitation for travellers to Explore; delve into, deep dive, discover and continuous rediscover the rare depth, range and variety of attractions in the Pearl,” he said.
The team will participate in various activities at Murchison Falls National Park including; day and night game drives, zip lining, boat cruises, nature walks, a business fellowship, picnic Sundowners and hiking at the top of the falls.