Kampala-With a potential of more than 500,000 visitors per annum, Uganda is seeking to tap into China to grow the country’s tourism numbers.
Uganda, through the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) last year hired PHG Consulting-China, a market destination representative to sell Uganda’s tourism in the world’s second largest economy.
The firm, which has already started work, is training local tour operators on how they can help to attract visitors from the Asian source market.
Speaking at the launch of the training in Kampala yesterday Ms Catherine Mei, the PHG Consulting China travel sales director, said: “Uganda is a unique country that we want to promote in China as soon as possible and bring Chinese tourists to enjoy the wildlife safaris and the authentic culture,”
Every year, she said, more than 500,000 Chinese tourists travel to Africa, many of whom spend more than what those from other source markets such as Europe and North America spend.
China’s travel numbers
More than 149.7 million tourists travelled out of the country in 2018 to different destinations growing from 131 million in 2017.
Mr Daudi Migereko, the UTB chairman yesterday, said during the launch that it was important “our tour operators [train] to understand the spending types, budgets and what attracts Chinese.”
“Our assignment is to grow the current number of visitors from 1.6 million. We believe tapping into the Chinese market will help us to increase the numbers,” he said.
Uganda has in the last five years engaged firms such as PHG Consulting-China to market the country, especially in Europe, North America, German speaking countries and now China, Japan and United Arab Emirates.
Yesterday, UTB emphasised that there was need for Uganda to promote culture and biodiversity to the Chinese market given that it is one of the leading attractions of the Chinese people. The emphasis was supported by findings contained in different surveys conducted by PHG Consulting-China. Ms Lilian Ajarova, the UTB chief executive officer said: “One of the key products Chinese are interested in is Uganda’s Culture and Kingdoms. It is very important to appreciate their taste. If we are to attract them here,”
“Buganda, Tooro and Bunyoro are well-organised and classical kingdoms. If we work together with them, we will be able to offer a perfect product for the Chinese market. More and more Chinese middle class are putting their wealth into buying real estates, big ticket consumer items and international travel. This is the market that Uganda is targeting,” she said. Ms Ajavora, however, cautioned tour operators, the first batch of trainees, to take advantage of the training and learn how to package the right products that meet the needs of the Chinese market.
PHG Consulting has more than 50 years in travel and tourism sales and consulting, with 260 professionals in 35 major cities worldwide that operate exclusively within the travel industry.
The company has a proven success travel sales worth $1.1b in Airlines, with established relationships and alliances with hotels and travel trade organisations.