By Solomon Oleny
Uganda has emerged as the lucky host of two winners of Orbitz rewards program, expected to be arriving on March 1, 2014 for a fun-packed week of adventure.
Orbitz Worldwide, a Chicago-based online travel agency offers two lucky winners of its online competition -- Orbitz rewards program -- an all-expense-paid free trip to a selected travel destination, where they spend one week exploring the cream attractions of that country.
For one to emerge as lucky winner, he or she books flights, qualifying hotels or qualifying packages in the months of December, January and February after which he earns points called orbucks.
At the end of the day, the two travelers with the highest number of orbucks walks away with the grand prize.
Unlike other prestigious tourism honours which Uganda has earned in the recent past like lonely planet’s favourite tourism destination 2012, National Geographic’s top 20 global tourism destinations in the year 2013, the orbitz rewards program is one of a kind whose impact will be felt right away.
Amos Wekesa, a household name of the tourism sector, also the country coordinator of the event explained that this opportunity will directly market Uganda like never before because orbitz commands of one million followers, making it the biggest online tourism competition.
“Further to that, the competition will drive tourism traffic into the Uganda because it has embarked on an aggressive online campaigns purposed to popularise the amazing attractions and game that the winners will explore such as the big seven namely Gorillas, Chimpanzees, lions, buffaloes, elephants, rhinos and leopards,” Wekesa said.
“In the event that 200,000 of these one million followers come to Uganda, Uganda will be $260M richer for every day they will spend in the country because an average tourist in Uganda spends $1300 a day on travel expenses like accommodation, transport, food among others.”
Liselotte De Vriendt of Brussels airlines, one of the co-sponsors of the event noted that, initially Kenya was slated to host the annual event.
However, following the Nairobi Westgate Mall attack that resulted in at least 72 deaths, the privilege of being a host country was re-routed to Uganda because its tourism sector enjoys remarkable security.
It is against this background that she urged that Uganda need Uganda needs to maintain its current national security; otherwise it might lose out on this grand opportunity in the event that terrorism strikes it again.
“In this regard, I encourage everyone to keep a watchful eye of terrorism because fighting the disaster is a collective responsibility.” She advised
On arrival, the lucky winners will be taken the various attractions sites where one can find the big seven around the country such as Budongo Eco forest, Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary,Mt Rwenzori, Murchison falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park among others.