By Stephen Ssenkaaba
The Government will develop a framework to train local people to engage in community tourism, Maria Mutagamba, the minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities has said.
“We would like to develop the capacity of our people to start using what they have locally to attract tourists,” she said. The Minister said this recently during a meeting with Maria Baryamujura, the 2013 winner of the prestigious African Diaspora World Tourism Award and a leading consultant on community tourism.
At the meeting which took place in the Minister’s office at Famer’s house on Parliament Avenue, on Wednesday, Baryamujura presented Mutagamba with the certificate she received in recognition for her outstanding work. She also shared useful tips on community tourism.
“We have got one of the richest and most unique cultures in the world, but we still are trying to find ways of making the most of it. Community tourism is one of the most viable ways of marketing our country,” Mutagamba said.
She added that community tourism is not yet a widely understood concept in Uganda, perhaps “because our people do not have the skills to package our products in a way that can attract the attention of tourists.”
“We shall work closely with experienced people like Baryamujura to sensitise Ugandans about the importance of community tourism,” she said.
Community tourism is where people within their communities use the materials available to them; things like food, culture, housing, environment as tourist resources for foreign visitors.
Baryamujura is a community tourism Consultant, Founder and Executive Director of Community Based Tourism Initiatives (COBATI) a tourism non-profit organisation. Over the last three decades, she has been involved in tourism and cultural heritage promotion.
The African Diaspora World Tourism Awards honours leaders in the field of black culture and heritage as an influence on tourism. It recognises the service and dedication of key people from around the world who have significantly influenced world tourism and the exploration of the global places of black culture and heritage. The official Awards Ceremony was held on Saturday April 27, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.