Members of the private sector that are involved in the tourism sector have asked government to increase the money they spend on marketing Uganda if it is to achieve the set targets for the tourism sector in Uganda.
The call was made today during the Uganda tourism consultative meeting for all householders that was held today at Imperial Royale hotel to discuss and review the new marketing strategy that will be launched in September.
Chris Muhangu, a consultant member of the private sector said that all the effort that the tourism board and the government will not yield results unless government chooses to invest in the marketing sector that will be the main driver of all the tourism activities.
“You say you want to attract 4 million foreign tourists in Uganda by 2020, this will only be possible if government makes deliberate plan to invest more in the tourism sector especially the marketing sector,” Muhangu said.
He added, “United Emirates remains the most visited tourism destination because they have invested tremulously in marketing. Talk of Rwanda; they have also improved so much as far as attracting tourists is concerned. All these countries do not have half the resources and tourism sites that we have and yet we continue to perform poorly on the international level. This is mainly because we have failed to market Uganda.”
Moses Apiyo from Mbale asked the tourism board to identify signature projects that they can concentrate on that ill headline the tourism campaign.
“It could be culture or a natural resource or a sport. We should be known for two or one particular thing, this will create an identity and we can use it to headline the other tourism potentials that we have. Once these projects are identified, we should be able to put aside resources to promote them so that our tourism sector can grow,” he said.
Dr Celestine Katongole, a private consultant from Celes International who was contracted to develop a strategy for Uganda tourism sector for the next 5 years said Uganda had the potential to become a world class tourism center however its historical challenges like being a war torn areas has not been erased hence its potential in tourism remained in the shadows..
Katongole recommends that Uganda should be re-branded to erase the Amin syndrome from the heads of potential tourists.
“A lot of people outside Uganda do not know Uganda for its potentials like tourism and good food, Uganda is still known mainly for Amin and this has kept a shadow on the tourism sector, this can be changed through marketing,” he said while making a presentation about the proposed strategy.