By Joyce Namutebi
Uganda’s Embassy in Washington DC has partnered with National Tour Association (NTA) in North America to boost tourism in Uganda.
“Uganda’s share of North American tourism market is set to expand following the partnership with the National Tour Association (NTA), a leading player in the travel industry in North America,” Oliver Wonekha, Uganda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Stephen B. Reacher, NTA’s Public Affairs Advocate at Uganda Embassy, Washington, D.C said.
Wonekha noted that although Uganda has some of Africa’s best tourist attractions, the number of tourists from North America visiting the country hasn’t matched this potential, a recent statement issued by the Embassy said.
She, however, noted that after emerging from a difficult past, Uganda has seen increased investment in tourism infrastructure such as hotels in cities and game parks, access roads, boosting security in and around the tourist attractions.
She said the Embassy is working together with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities; Uganda Tourism Board (UTB); Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) to increase the country’s visibility as a unique tourist destination.
Wonekha also said a surge in American tourists to Uganda will also positively impact on other sectors of the economy.
“For instance, with 30 percent of American tourists also in search for investment opportunities, the volume of investments from the United States to Uganda will result in new investments in various sectors. She also said the recently launched East Africa Tourist Visa has already gained appreciation across the travel industry as an important milestone in the region’s tourism.
NTA is a leading business-building association for professionals serving customers travelling to, from and within North America, with a membership of over 1,500 tour operators who buy and package travel products to over 600 destinations around the world, and has unprecedented access to business-to-business networking in the travel industry.
Mr. Steve Reacher said the partnership will enable North American tour operators, airlines and other players in the travel industry to work closely with their Ugandan counterparts so as to market Uganda as a favourable destination for North Americans. He also noted that Africa is the most misunderstood continent—its diversity in terms history, cultures, peoples, and available opportunities. However, those who travel to Africa gain a completely new understanding of the continent, and always want to include Africa on their travel menu.
In November 2014, Uganda is scheduled to host the 39th Annual Congress of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) in Kampala, an opportunity for Uganda to showcase her tourism potential, and for local tour operators to develop partnerships with their counterparts in North America.