Caption for the landscape image:

Increased marketing of Uganda tourism will be a game-changer

Scroll down to read the article

Simplicious Gessa

The forthcoming Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) by Uganda Tourism Board is invaluable in marketing Uganda’s tourism domestically and globally.

POATE 2024 is scheduled to take place this week from May 23 to 25 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.  Domestic and international participants, including international journalists, exhibitors, hoteliers, airliners, trade visitors, hosted buyers, tourism boards and tour operators, will receive high value information about destination Uganda.

With increased funding to the tourism sector, especially for marketing, infrastructure development, and product development, promotional events like POATE are critical in driving awareness of the country. This awareness can easily translate into the much-needed forex revenue far and above the current earnings of approximately $1b in the sector.

Tourism statistics indicate that the average expenditure of foreign tourists in the country stands at $1,371, a $319 jump from $1,052 recorded before the pandemic. This sector has a significant multiplier effect on the economy. Deploying additional resources for increased marketing would attract more international visitors, as well as stimulate local businesses, create jobs, and boost foreign exchange earnings.

As noted by the World Travel & Tourism Council, for every 30 new tourists to a destination, one new job is created. In a country with a high youth population like Uganda, the tourism industry is a vital source of employment.

Tourist arrivals from Europe increased by 42.4 percent from 27,814 to 39,596 with all major markets increasing in 2023. This indicates a robust recovery in tourism from European countries from 2022 to 2023. The increase in European arrivals was mainly from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Ireland markets, which jointly account for more than 60 percent of arrivals from Europe to Uganda.

Uganda is hailed as the “Pearl of Africa” because of its incredible stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cultures. Despite its rich natural and cultural heritage, the potential of Uganda’s tourism sector remains largely untapped. It is time to intensify the marketing efforts as we elevate Uganda’s status as a premier global tourist destination. This will undoubtedly drive economic growth and sustainable development.

Uganda Tourism Board has strategically deployed the available resources in creation of positive visibility for the country, through its new brand #exploreuganda. In order to feature prominently on the global tourism landscape, the board alongside the private sector players participates in a number of international trade and tourism events, including the recent Dubai Expo held annually in the United Arab Emirates.

Marketing and promotion in the tourism industry plays a central role in boosting the number of tourists visiting a country. Efforts are underway to promote local tourism through provision of support to private players to propel visibility for destination Uganda.  The Board is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies abroad to make activities that showcase destination Uganda in the host countries.

Through harnessing digital marketing like social media campaigns that leverage on digital platforms to showcase Uganda’s attractions to a global audience,  a lot of mileage has been realised. The board has now rolled out a process to generate engaging content, including virtual tours and influencer partnerships to push destination Uganda’s offering to captivate potential tourists.

Other Partnerships in place include international travel agencies, airlines, and hospitality brands to create attractive travel packages and increase Uganda’s visibility in key markets.

Marketing events like POATE persuade tourists to visit a country to experience the unique tourism diversity a country offers. Marketing and promotion activities will greatly unlock Uganda’s tourism potential.

Mr Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, was recently quoted in the media acknowledging that features like Lake Victoria, source of the Nile River, cities like Jinja, National Parks, great weather and the hospitable nature of Ugandans can be very attractive to Chinese, some of whom may even choose to invest here and spend their retirement in this great weather.

Uganda’s outstanding tourist attractions are the reason the country has been ranked by various international tourism agencies as one of the world’s top five countries with the best tourist attractions.

Increased marketing of Uganda’s tourism is not just an opportunity; it is a necessity. By showcasing the country’s unparalleled beauty and adventure opportunities, Uganda can position itself as a top travel destination. 

Dr. Gessa Simplicious, Head Public Relations, Uganda Tourism Board