Monday May 19 2014

Govt plans to hire foreign firms to counter ‘bad press’ abroad

By Stephen Otage

Government plans to hire foreign public relations firms to manage its image abroad in order to attract more tourists as well as making Uganda a leading tourist destination in the region.

While addressing the press together with American tourists, Ms Maria Mutagamba, the Tourism minister, said many negative stories which appear in foreign press paint a grim picture of Uganda, adding [government] plans to respond to such bad press and clear its image.

She cited the periodic travel advisories that the British, US and other governments issue as some of the factors that are preventing tourists from coming to Uganda.

The minister also pointed at the criticism relating to the recently enacted anti-homosexuality law, saying there was need for PR professionals to show foreign audiences the true picture of state of affairs in Uganda.
According to Ms Vivian Lyazi the principal tourism officer in the ministry of Tourism, last year’s World Bank foreign exchange indicators showed that tourism contributed $1.3b (about Shs3.3) revenue to Uganda.

Uganda is expected to host the 39th Conference of African Travel Association that will bring more than 500 tourism experts across the globe.
Mr Stephen Asiimwe, the executive director of Uganda Tourism Board, said his agency was in discussions with the World Bank to bankroll a campaign that will polish Uganda’s image in tourists potential markets.