Visiting Uganda guarantees value for money -Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

President Museveni has told tourism stakeholders to take advantage of the peace and stability the country is enjoying to realize high revenue returns from tourism. This during his speech to the delegates attending the 5th Pearl Of Africa Tourism Expo at Speke Resort Munyonyo .

The expo, is running under the theme, ‘Promoting Intra-Africa Travel’ in a bid to raise awareness about the untapped potential presented by emerging African travel markets.

The president noted that the government had restored Uganda Airlines to attract tourists to Uganda through the many planned direct routes where, tourists and business people alike will have faster and more affordable travel to the pearl, making Uganda a competitive destination.

The 5th Annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2020, running for three days pits business to business and business to customer engagements amongst key Ugandan and regional tourism players with selected tourism wholesalers from Africa and other overseas tourism markets.

Museveni also commended UTB for the intra-African outlook saying that it was time to focus on intra-African business owing to the big market of 1.2 billion people .

The minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Col(rtd) Tom Butime said that Uganda offers, probably one of most abundant investment incentive regimes in the sector including Start-up costs spread over the 4 years ,25% per annum, Scientific research expenditure at 100%,Training expenditure of 100% ,Initial allowance on hotel buildings at 20% ,Subsidized land to investors in the 4 priority sector s (ICT, Agro-processing, Tourism & Minerals processing); Exempt of Motor vehicles for transport of tourist of which have to be specially designed and built for transportation of tourists, Stamp duty exemption on instruments for mobilizing funds for tourism development and 100% profit repatriation.

Over 57 international hosted buyers, 140 domestic and regional tourism operators as well as international and domestic media are in the country to market destination Uganda, courtesy of the ministry of Tourism.

In his address to them, Tourism State Minister ,Kiwanda Ssubi said, “You have another home called Uganda and that the destinations that we want you. Do not sell Uganda to only Egyptians, Tanzanians or Zimbabweans. You are selling Uganda to whoever comes to your destination, please add the pearl of Africa on your menu.’’

Speaking on behalf of the private sector, the President, Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) Mrs Pearl Hoareau Kakooza, called upon government to invest more in industry capacity building, new product development, capital investments and facilitating access to affordable financing adding that access to more affordable financing would translate into a broader tax base and by extension, more tax revenue.

Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) told the delegates that Uganda was full of abundant tourism opportunities characterized by the richest tourism attractions portfolio, best value for money for investors and tourists alike and therefore healthy returns on investment.

“We have the richest and most diverse range of human, natural, cultural, religious and historical attractions complemented by a warm tropical climate, warm people, great accommodations and great food, she said.

During the event the Uganda Tourism Board signed a memorandum of understanding with Uganda airlines.

Fifty tour and travel agencies headline tourist expo

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda Tourism Board has commenced activities geared towards promoting Uganda as an African travel destination for African Tourists. This comes ahead of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2020.

Over 50 tour and travel agencies from across the continent are expected to sign partnerships with local companies whereas close to 10 international media houses are due in the country according to the Chief Executive Officer, Lily Ajarova.

“POATE 2020 will integrate a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) trade event format under the theme ,Inspiring high value engagement to promoting intra-Africa travel for leisure, business and adventure, aimed at raising Uganda’s profile as a preferred destination in the region and internationally’’

As Uganda positions as a premier tourist destination, the 5th annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is expected to bring together regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies and various players in the tourism trade to network and facilitate tourism business with local domestic tourism trade- that is composed of largely tour operators, hoteliers, conservationists and government.

“We are basically creating an opportunity for our domestic tourism players, to connect with the rest of the world, so as to showcase what they have to offer and in so doing, help the world discover brand Uganda,” Ajarova said.

The 5th Annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo will run from February 4th – 6th 2020 at the Speke Resort in Munyonyo and each subsequent POATE has been building on the lessons and successes of previous editions.

This year’s POATE is quite a unique one and will run under the theme ‘Promoting Intra-Africa Travel’. This theme is aimed at raising Uganda’s profile as a preferred destination in the region and internationally to reflect its strategy to re-balance and segment the tourism portfolio into 4 key segments, Existing overseas markets, Emerging overseas markets, Regional/African market, Domestic market.

The focus being Africa is due to the fact that Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism markets, after Asia and the Pacific;Outbound traffic from Africa in 2018 reached 42 million, according to UNWTO, 4 out of every 5 tourists, travel within their region- more Africans are likely to travel and do travel within their regions, existing ties- most African travelers travel to see friends and family or doing business. Uganda is already doing business with Africa, benefits of African integration (EAC Tourist Visa) and the upcoming African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA) that will open up more African borders and skies. Relatedly,Africa is rising economically- by 2030- there will be 1 billion Africans in middle class- up from 375 million in 2013.

The Africa Development Bank estimates that by 2030, in the five largest African consumer markets i.e. Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Algeria — there will be 56 million middle-class households alone with disposable incomes of nearly $680 billion.