Uganda has ramped up its tourism campaign by dedicating this year’s annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo to the continent, under the theme “Promoting intra-African Travel.” The expo runs February 4 to 6 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Kampala.
Uganda Tourism Board chief executive officer Lilly Ajarova told the media in Kampala, that the expo seeks to penetrate further into the African market, while consolidating the already existing outlets.
“Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism markets just behind Asia and this market is what we are positioning ourselves to tap into,” Ms Ajarova said.
The UTB is hosting 57 tour operators and journalists drawn from Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; and from the emerging markets of Thailand, Philippines, Russia, and Malaysia—on a countrywide tour to sell “Destination Uganda”.
The UTB has identified Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria as its key regional and African tourist sources.
Kenya accounted for the biggest percentage of regional tourists to Uganda at 29 per cent of the total 1.5 million arrivals in 2018. Rwanda came second at 26 per cent while Tanzania was third at seven per cent. With an estimated market of over 433 million people, East African countries hope to land more visitors from the region.
According to Ms Ajarova, the branding of the region’s major destinations makes it easier for the bloc’s inbound tourist.
Kenya has branded itself as beach and safari country, Tanzania for adventure at Kilimanjaro and island tourism in Zanzibar; Rwanda is the hub of gorilla trekking, while Uganda offers a cocktail of attractions.
Regional tourism too, has been boosted by the revival of Uganda Airlines, Tanzania Airlines and the growth of RwandAir and expansion of regional routes by Kenya Airways through its subsidiary, Jambojet.
Tourism is Uganda’s highest foreign exchange earner raking in $1.6 billion in 2018.