By Solomon Oleny
Tanya Vernon, 29 and Scott Vernon 46, the two winners of the Orbitz rewards program were in Uganda for a fun-packed week of adventure around its cream tourism attractions.
Their visit comes six months after Uganda emerged as the lucky host of this year’s Orbitz rewards program, due to its impressive attractions.
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 walk away with the grand prize.
Sheila Kogo, the Marketing Manager of Great lakes Safaris, the country coordinator of the event and the transporter of the winners explained that this since Orbitz picked on Uganda as the lucky host in December, it has been marketing Uganda as a prime tourism destination to the over 2 million followers it commands in the USA.
“In a move to drive tourism traffic into the Uganda, Orbitz embarked on aggressive online campaigns purposed towards popularizing the amazing game that the winners would explore such as the big six namely Chimpanzees, lions, buffaloes, elephants, rhinos and leopards,” Sheila said.
Tanya and Scott Vernon having fan. PHOTO/ Solomon Oleny
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 and several other terror attacks that resulted in over 100 deaths, the privilege of being a host country was re-routed to Uganda because its tourism sector enjoys remarkable security.
Upon arrival last Tuesday, Tanya and Scot, both Citizens of Iowa State, USA were taken to the various attraction sites where one can find the big six around the country such as Budongo Eco forest, Pineapple Bay Resort, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Murchison falls National Park.
On overall, the adventures and warm hospitalities they got in most of these places especially Budongo eco lodge in Budongo Eco forest surpassed their expectations and it’s against this background that they plan on returning for a private visit in five years’ time to finish what they were not able to see during this visit which ended on 17th.
“For the first time in our lives, we saw all the animals but damn, we didn’t see the lion. It must have been shying away under some cool shade in the park from the scorching rays of the African sun.” says Tanya.
Scott on the other hand was so excited by the vast knowledge of most of the tour guides that accompanied them and can’t wait for his private visit back in five years’ time, a visit in which he plans on exploring the tourism attractions where one can find flamingos, gorillas and zebra’s among others.
“However, I am also hopeful that the pathetic roads leading to some of these attractions will be fixed by that time.” The material handler expresses his optimism