A team of stakeholders including tour operators from Kenya is in Uganda for a five day familiarization trip to explore the Pear of Africa as both countries move to build synergies in promoting tourism.
The trip will see engagements between the Kenya Association of Tour Operators and the Association of Uganda Tour Operators for joint travel packages as well as an MOU between the Kenya Coast Tourism Association and the Uganda Tourism Association.
The trip comes on the backdrop of a similar trip and the Uganda – Kenya coast tourism conference, exhibition in Mombasa last week.
Speaking during a ceremony to welcome the Kenyans,the Consul General of Uganda in Mombasa, Amb. Paul Mukumbya said the main aim is creating synergies between the two countries, especially in tourism.
“We want to create synergies and complementarity between the Uganda and Kenya coast tourism players but also create more awareness about the two destinations and the tourism products they offer,” Amb Mukumbya said.
He said that during these synergies, the travel packages for the two countries will be interlinked so that both countries benefit from tourism.
“With this familiarization trip, we want to equip the tourism players from Uganda and the Kenya coastal region with first-hand experience of the key tourism attractions so that they are in better position to market these attractions; and to promote and popularize the Entebbe – Mombasa route operated by the Uganda Airlines.”
Uganda Wildlife Authority(UWA) Business Development Manager, Dorcus Rukundo said Uganda has a lot to offer in terms of tourism.
“You are going to have time with chimpanzees. You are going to see how they sing, and how they look after their babies. When you go to Queen Elizabeth, there are so many birds. On Kazinga Channel, we have so many birds. I want to invite you to take the boat cruise, and see the bird life that we have in this country. I want to give assurance that you are going to enjoy this country. Uganda’s tourism is nature based, and you will realize that Uganda is greener than where you are coming from [Kenya]. Uganda has cooler weather than where you are coming from.”
She noted that the East African region said is unique in its own way, with an amazing geographical landscape and emphasized the need for joint marketing of the two tourist destinations for a greater benefit.
“A tourist from USA, Austria or anywhere will find a very beautiful experience in East Africa, and they can go and talk about us as the East Africa’s destination. Let us work together, let us complement each other.”
The Director, Policy and Business Development at Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Dr. Julius Byaruhanga said tourism is among the 12 sectors under PSFU’s portfolio that the latter is boosting to triple its contribution to Uganda’s growth.
“Tourism is one of the sectors where we are putting much effort to make sure that the GDP contribution of tourism is tripled. One of our key objectives is to make sure that tourism is promoted domestically, regionally and internationally,” he said.
He noted that together with government and the World Bank, PSFU is working on a project to promote Uganda as a one of the best tourist destinations.
The engagement is also facilitated by the Uganda Tourism Board which is mandated to promote and market Uganda as a tourist destination.
The UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova recently said Uganda seeks to tap into visitors to Kenya.
“When we look at the East African market and the rest of Africa, Kenya has been giving us the highest number of arrivals into the country. With this we would like to strengthen relationship with Kenyan market because we know there is opportunity to have even more. In the past it has been Kenyans getting information through other sources but now we are making a purpose move to deal with tour operators who would be able to help us more,”Ajarova said.
“The Kenyan tour operators will experience wildlife, landscape, culture, food among others for them to be able to understand from their own experience on how they can be able to package Ugandan for Kenyan market and other markets. This will ensure we increase the numbers not only from Kenya but also other parts of East Africa, Africa and the rest of the world at large.”