Govt targets $5m from tourism  

Ms Ajarova (left), and other guests listen to presentations at the POATE expo in Munyonyo, Kampala yesterday. Photo / Courtesy 

What you need to know:

  • The Africa Tourism Expo offers the opportunity to exhibit what Uganda has to offer to the world

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 24 kicked off with great enthusiasm as stakeholders in the industry aim to increase earnings over the next four years. 

The event underscores the growing need to promote and innovate within the sector. 

Speaking in Munyonyo, Kampala yesterday, Tourism Minister Tom Butime said in the next four years, government has set an ambitious target to boost Uganda’s tourism earnings to $5b (Shs18.9 trillion). 

“To achieve this, we are undertaking several measures, including ensuring security of our country, developing tourism sites through improved accessibility, diversification, and leveraging technology to enhance our marketing efforts,” he said. 

Now in its eighth edition, POATE promises to unleash a new approach, with sustainable tourism at the centre, making tourism the most attractive venture with the potential to develop the country.

Vice President Jessica Alupo, Uganda said tourism is one of the most interesting sectors in government “where you work while enjoying and I have been enjoying since Saturday when we were in Soroti”, east of Kampala. 
In a message read by Ms Alupo, President Museveni said tourism plays a big role in developing the country, noting that: “… as government, we have prioritised tourism as a formidable growth sector.”

Government considers tourism as a key priority in the development of Uganda. Photo / File 

The President also indicated that Uganda has a young population with an abundant labor force, which the tourism sector should take advantage of, while at the same time advising that tourism should be mainstreamed in the parish development model to allow different benefits from it.

Mr Museveni further noted Africa has more than 40 currencies, which must be reduced through regional blocks to avoid losses in exchange rates.

Ms Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board chief executive officer, said the expo is hosting more than 70 buyers, with more than 5,000 visitors and business people.

POATE, she said offers an opportunity to exhibit what Uganda has to offer, revealing that: “We plan to expand marketing through digital channels, mainstream media, and influencer marketing. Write our story of the past, present and the future.”

Various reviews have ranked Uganda as one of the best tourism destinations, which gives the country an opportunity to showcase its tourism potential globally.

Dorine Katusime, the Ministry of Tourism permanent secretary, said the number of visitors is a testimony that Uganda is on the right track to achieving the set targets, commending the national organising committee for putting up a stellar performance over the years.