By Deo Wasswa
Members of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL) have been urged to position their businesses in line with Uganda’s tourism in order to fully harness the opportunities presented by the sector.
Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the above while speaking to participants during a monthly UWEAL networking meeting held at the association’s offices located at Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Lugogo earlier today 30th May.
She explained that positioning of their various businesses such as agriculture, craft, and accommodation; among others in line with tourism would enhance their opportunities to benefit from the sector.
“There are so many opportunities in the tourism sector. Right now for instance, the sector could benefit from more accommodation facilities ranging from home stays, budget and luxury lodges and hotels. Kampala has a number of facilities but once you are out of the city, the need for more investment in accommodation facilities is quickly evident,” Ajarova said.
She also revealed that UTB had formally written to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development requesting for incentives to be extended to investors looking to set up accommodation facilities in different parts of the country. This she hopes, will help alleviate the deficit.
Ajarova further encouraged the participants to set up home stays given that there is a growing number of tourists who prefer this arrangement.
“Here, you have a home that you only need to renovate then offer it for visitors and start earning money without having to set up a new building. However, you need to register with UTB, then we license and then grade your facility and eventually classify it. This is the only way we can promote your business,” Ajarova said.
She added, “Tourism is now about branding, storytelling and immersing tourists into an experience. Once you add this to your product, then you will be on the right track to benefit from tourism”
Connie Kekihembo, the CEO of UWEAL acknowledged UTB for sharing the information with the association’s members saying that the session was an eye opener for many of them.
“One of the things we look at when planning for these networking sessions is government priorities. We noticed that there’s high investment and prioritization of tourism and yet our women were not well positioned. We have heeded to this advice and we shall identify the areas to invest in because we have the capacity to grow tourism just like the agricultural sector,” she noted.
Kekihembo also said, “We have always spoken about value addition because most of our members are in agribusiness. Today, we have found out that agribusiness can also be turned into a tourism product. So our members will not only add value to their products.”