Dubai expo opens Uganda to Middle East market – UTB  

President Museveni (left) meets Ugandan traditional dancers at the Dubai expo in UAE last month. PHOTO/FILE

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According to Ms Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) chief executive officer, the Dubai expo gives the country’s tourism sector a lifeline following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Tourism authorities in Uganda are confident that the ongoing Dubai expo in the United Arab Emirates, will help ongoing efforts to market the country to the Middle East, an area viewed as a potential premium tourism market.
The Dubai Expo also known as World Expo, is being hosted from October 1 to March 31, 2022.
According to Ms Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) chief executive officer, the Dubai expo gives the country’s tourism sector a lifeline following the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In her update to the media in Kampala at the weekend, Ms Ajarova explained that just a month into the expo, tourism companies in Dubai and beyond are now putting Uganda on top of their forthcoming tourism destinations.
“The past two weeks have been successful… We have met with strategic partners such as Emirates Holidays and Fly Dubai, among others, which are the tourism arms of the airlines and we hope this will help in increasing the number of visitors from this region,” she said.
Currently, only three airlines operate direct flights from Entebbe to Dubai, the commercial city of the United Arab Emirates. These are Uganda Airlines, Fly Dubai and Emirates Airlines.

She said the tourism arms of the airlines, by putting destination Uganda on their packages, means that the country will get more visitors from the Middle East.
“We have established ourselves in Europe and America but the Middle East market is an emerging one and the Dubai expo is a perfect opportunity for us to engage more during these six months and what we have been able to achieve in the past two weeks is that there is a lot of positivity for this new destination. We need support from everyone,” Ms Ajarova said.

She added that now, the private sector needs to position itself to welcome this new market’s clients and provide top quality services.
“We believe that the numbers from this region are going to increase and for the general public, we need your support in promoting the country even on social media so that it can encourage the internationals to come to Uganda,” Ms Ajarova said.

Lilly Ajarova, UTB chief executive officer. PHOTO/FILE

Before the coronavirus pandemic, tourism was the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner raking in nearly $1.9 billion per year.
But the sector has been badly battered by the pandemic and its ensuing travel restrictions world over that have left destinations, hotels  and the entire value chain reeling.

About the law
So far, UTB while at the Dubia expo, has organised meetings with the senior executives to create collaborative synergies with the Emirates Holidays.  Emirates Holidays is the tour operating arm of Emirates Airlines.  The UTB delegation met with Mr Bob Kabli, the vice president; Samer Al Haider, interim head of commercial; Alessandra Musso, head of product; and, Nassim Jahvier, product manager.
  They met with Fly Dubai Airlines that offers affordable flights to about 97 destinations, including Uganda. UTB delegation also met with vice presidents Nelson Dsouza and Gerard Rao at their headquarters in Dubai, UAE.
 

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