By Edwin Muhumuza
The Embassy of Ireland has hailed the Uganda Tourism Board and pledged support in ensuring more Irish tourists visit the Pearl of Africa.
This was according to the second secretary to the embassy, Cormac Shine, during commemorations to mark St. Patricks Day with the symbolic lighting of the Kayabwe Equator Monument, in green.
The event marked the fourth year that Uganda has participated in the Global Greening initiative, that sees over 200 famous landmarks and iconic sites across the world go green every 17th March.
The global greening campaign is one that is now in its 11th year run by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with other embassies around the world.
‘We are now trying to promote Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day and showcase our own culture and also eager to work with our partners, the Uganda Tourism Board, a very valued partner of ours and we have been working with them for so many years now on the global greening campaign’, Said Cormac Shine.
This was the second time the Embassy was greening the equator having done the same with the Biharwe Eclipse monument in Mbarara City and the year before the Nile Bridge in Jinja.
‘I think the equator is a great symbol of the pearl of Africa and we are always glad to work with UTB to highlight Uganda’s Tourism Potential.’
The second secretary to the embassy said that they have a small but very active Irish community and up to 2020 there are about 260 Irish people resident in Uganda noting that even if the numbers are small they continue to grow upon realising the great variety of things they have to see in Uganda.
‘You have Kidepo in the north east, Bwindi in the Southwest, the Rwenzori Mountains, the savannah jungle and everything in between and I think it is an amazing landscape that the Irish people are discovering every year.’ Cormac said.
The chief executive officer of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Lilly Ajarova said the equator is very significant in terms of the beautiful weather that Uganda offers and it is what gives the basis to the biodiversity Uganda is proud of.
‘Also very important is that the Irish embassy has worked closely with us for the last 11 years and we have a cooperation that has been going on directly with the embassy and through their membership to the EU. With the pandemic that we were faced with, we had the EU giving a grant of 6 million Euros to support the tourism sector.
We are very optimistic that as things are settling down with the pandemic we will be able to do more with Ireland as a market for us because last month in February 2021 we signed a new agency as a market destination representative in the UK to cover the UK and Ireland so that we are able to bring in more travelers from those markets.’ Lilly noted.
There have not been any covid19 deaths in Uganda for a month now according to official figures.