By Titus Kakembo
The Ministry of Tourism has described the evacuation of 400 tourists from Kenya after advisories issued by USA, UK and Australia, as one of the darkest moments for the entire East African Community (EAC) region, which has just introduced a single visa.
“With such threats and sophisticated guests, our hotels have no option but to go for the grading exercise of our hotels which started in Entebbe and Kampala before going national,” cautioned tourism minister Maria Mutagamba.
“The threat of terrorism is global. Before a tourist makes a booking, they want to know (as graded), what suits their purchasing power to enables one to budget and plan a Safari.”
Adding that, the grading exercise comes handy at a time when a joint visa for the entire East African Community was introduced.
“The times have never been this rosy for investors, tourists and service providers in Uganda,” said Mutagamba.
“There are numerous new products that give the Uganda destination an edge over their counterparts advertising homogenous attractions on the Africa continent.”
On her part, the new Uganda Hotel Operators Association (UHOA) president Susan Muhwezi urged members to exploit existing domestic tourism opportunities.
“Introduce corporate retreat discounts to coincide with low season of bookings from abroad,” said Muhwezi.
“Let those well-heeled East Africans previously destined for a holiday in South Africa, Egypt or Europe know about the attraction in Uganda.”
“In addition to conventional advertising, exploit social media to market your services to the billions of social media citizens spread across the world,” tipped Muhwezi.