By Kalungi Kabuye
DURBAN - It was hard to find, at first, and took several turns around the exhibition hall before we could identify the Ugandan stall, but the fact it was there, at Africa’s largest travel and tourism festival, was good enough.
At least for both the Minister of tourism, Maria Mutagamba, and Uganda’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Julius Peter Moto.
“We haven’t done much to promote and market tourism in Uganda, we admit,” Mutagamba said, “but the fact that we are here, selling Uganda to the rest of Africa, is a big step forward.”
The Ugandan stall is small, compared to the ones of her neighbours and partners in the region Kenya and Rwanda, but Mutagamba said Uganda does not have the resources to match her neighbours.
“Both Kenya and Rwanda spend more than US$5 million each on tourism marketing, while we only have a budget of US300,000 this year,” she said.
“So we cannot match them, but we are doing the best we can with what we have, and hopefully in the next few years we shall have more funds to effectively market tourism in Uganda.”
Uganda's Minister of Tourism, Maria Mutagamba (4th-R) poses with the South African Minister of Tourism, Marthinus Christoffel Johannes van Schalkwyk (on her right) during day one of the Indaba Tourism and Travurban on Saturday. PHOTO/Kalungi Kabuye
The Indaba Tourism and Travel Festival is organised by the South African Tourism Board, but has before this year been restricted to only Southern African countries. This year more than 20 countries across Africa have showcased what they have to offer in tourism.
It was opened Saturday by the South African Tourism Minister, Marthinus Christoffel Johannes van Schalkwyk, and will go on till Monday evening. Today’s highlight is a media face-off moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest.