Dubai Dept of Economy and Tourism’s Stella Obinwa (L) chats with TUGATA chairperson Pearl Kakooza (2nd L) and Uganda Tourism Association CEO Richard Kawere during the 23rd AGM. Photo by Nicholas Oneal
Jeff Andrew Lule
Journalist @New Vision

The Dubai Department of the Economy and Tourism (DET) has partnered with travel agents in Uganda to promote tourism in both countries.

The two countries are to work closely in promoting the potential tourism packages through their agents to attract more visitors on either side This was revealed during a meeting between DET and the Uganda travel agents under their umbrella body The Uganda Association of Travel Agents (TUGATA) at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, on Tuesday.

The TUGATA chairperson, Pearl Hoareau Kakooza said the development is a great opportunity for the travel agents after being disrupted for about two years by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

She explained that TUGATA had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DET in Kenya, but was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic for about two years.

“As you know, this year we had a Dubai Expo 2020, and that was a big global event for Dubai. Uganda as a country had a stall and several officers and businesspeople went to see how we can bring more tourists into Uganda,” Kakooza said. She said through the partnership, they want to see traffic both ways.

“Already, there is existing traffic from Uganda to Dubai and as we speak, according Dubai statistics, Uganda is number one in bringing visitors from the South of Sahara. So, we want to try to replicate Dubai into Uganda,” she added.

“We must engage our commercial attaches, to make them more cautious so that they can bring in more visitors from Dubai to Uganda.

“Now with the rebranding of Uganda ‘Explore Uganda, the Pearl of Africa,’ I think we are well-positioned to come out with a new brand,” she added.

She stressed that they intend to work with the tourism ministry through the Uganda Tourism Board to try to “make this a reality. If we also have a commercial attaché at the Uganda Embassy in Dubai, they should be empowered to sell Uganda to attract more visitors.”

The DET assistant manager in charge of international operations (Africa) Tareq Binbrek, said Uganda is a key market source for Dubai.

Before the pandemic started, we saw steady and impressive growth in tourism numbers from the region. We are confident that we can achieve this again soon and both countries can benefit,” he added.

The DET regional director of international operations, Stella Obinwa, said they want to create as many partnerships as possible with many travel agents and tour operators to easily benefit from the unexploited tourism market for both countries.

They also trained the travel agents and tour operators in Uganda on what Dubai has to offer.

“We also want to conduct a training with the travel agents in Uganda, walking them through our icons, our safety, how to get to and from Dubai, and what our hotels have to offer,” she noted.

She said they wanted to give them in-depth knowledge about Dubai, to help them in their business as they procure outbound travels for Ugandans, saying it is hard to sell what you do not have.

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