Will the ‘Explore Uganda' campaign boost the country’s tourism?
What you need to know:
- In his speech, President Yoweri Museveni highlighted the fact that Uganda is the roof of Africa that geographically makes it possible for the Nile to flow from Uganda to the rest of Africa. According to his submission, one of his main marvels about Uganda was how almost all the water in Uganda collects into the Albertine rift valley before it continues up to the rest of Africa.
On January 21, 2022, President Yoweri Museveni launched a new brand for Uganda as a tourism destination dubbed the "Explore Uganda". The Pearl of Africa Campaign is aimed at packaging Uganda's unique tourism products and promoting the country as the leading tourism destination in Africa.
In his speech, President Yoweri Museveni highlighted the fact that Uganda is the roof of Africa that geographically makes it possible for the Nile to flow from Uganda to the rest of Africa. According to his submission, one of his main marvels about Uganda was how almost all the water in Uganda collects into the Albertine rift valley before it continues up to the rest of Africa.
He also highlighted the diversity of Uganda’s environment garnished with a mix of tropics, savannah grasslands as well as mountainous climate along with the unique snow at the Equator.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, the “new brand” is a result of a very intensive study which took a period of time”. The study was done by the Uganda Tourism Board in collaboration with some of the market researchers in North America and Europe.
The three-year campaign aims at intensively marketing Uganda as a destination to the outside world and also bring on board, Ugandans to explore their own country. The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) strongly believes that the brand will significantly win Uganda’s rightful place on the world market.
Uganda, a country that is full of wonders!
Uganda is a country that is full of wonders. Compared with the popular safari countries in East Africa, Uganda has something more that makes it a unique destination unfortunately, it has not occupied its space as a unique destination.
During the Explore Uganda brand launch, the Uganda tourism board CEO Lilly Ajarova shared a few statistics that really make Uganda a very unique destination. In her speech, she highlighted the fact that Uganda host 53.9% of the mountain gorilla population in the whole world, 50% of the bird species in Africa, 39% mammal species on the African continent, 5000 plant species as well as the world’s largest tropical lake.
Uganda is where the East African savanna meets the West African Forests. This is the reason why the country boasts of national parks that are a mix of both savanna and rain forest parks. Not even Tanzania or Kenya can boost as destinations where you can experience the unique treasures of rain forests and see the big game that roams the savanna national parks. On a single Uganda safari, you can get to see the great apes in the rain forest and see the big five in savanna national parks.
The diverse vegetation of Uganda has also made it the best bird-watching destination in Africa. The country boasts of a checklist of over 1080 bird species that have been recorded in the parks. Tourists interested in bird watching roam the savanna grasslands, tropical rain forests, swamps, and wetlands and get to tick off their bird checklist in very few weeks! This is an experience that you will not easily find elsewhere in the world.
Will the Explore Uganda Campaign Promote Tourism
The "Explore Uganda" campaign has met several reactions with some stakeholders doubting if the campaign will promote the country and boost tourist arrivals that have largely swindled during the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic which adversely affected international tourism.
It is no doubt that Uganda is one of the loveliest countries in Africa but it is true it is one of the "poorly" promoted destinations in Africa. The country has many amazing things to see and do that can be packaged for tourists. The country hosts more than half of the world's population of mountain gorillas, great apes that are only found in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Despite the fact that Uganda is an incredible destination for gorilla trekking, the competitive advantage for Uganda and Rwanda, most travelers looking to see the great apes do not know that Uganda hosts mountain gorillas! When you conduct simple research among travelers planning to go gorilla trekking, the first priority is Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park which has been greatly promoted on the international markets. A gorilla permit in Rwanda costs US$1500 per person, but you will find more travelers placing inquiries for Rwanda than Uganda which sells its permit at US$700. This is largely attributed to smarter campaigns that Rwanda has conducted over years such as the “Visit Rwanda” campaign run on Arsenal and PSG Sports Clubs.
To some, Uganda didn’t need a rebrand but rather needed to up their tourism campaigns in the tourism generating countries most especially North America and Europe. “The country needs to embark on serious campaigns to promote the country on the international market,” he says.
It should be noted that country has in the past run several tourism campaigns that have not yielded results. The country has ever run the “Uganda Gifted By Nature Campaign”, the “Tourism Uganda” and the “Visit Uganda” Campaign!
Lily Ajarova points out that there has been a lack of clarity and consistency of the past brands and there has also been a lack of single-minded messaging and interpretation of what constitutes the Pearl of Africa.
What Experts Say About the Uganda Campaign
Lebawit Lily Girma reports that the “Explore Uganda” is a move away from the Safari Narrative that most countries in East and Southern Africa use to promote tourism campaigns. The campaign is aimed at encouraging tourists to explore more of what Uganda has to offer. From the iconic mountain gorilla, the big five, community tourism experiences, to modern cities, there is a lot to experience by the intrepid explorer.
The Uganda Tourism Board’s new campaign features a lot to see and do while in Uganda. The campaign also aims to promote longer stays for tourists who visit the country, something that can increase the multiplier effect and thus more tourism revenues.
The new message also targets the domestic market. The advert runs on television channels and social media showcases Ugandans enjoying a range of outdoor activities in their own backyard, something that can promote domestic tourism.
The Explore Uganda brand seeks to display how Uganda is the pearl of Africa in every segment. It seeks to diversify Uganda’s tourism beyond the common icon of gorilla trekking, the most popular adventure done in the country. It is high time that we embrace tourism and showcases the very best of Uganda in terms of nature, culture, and real-life experiences!