"We intend to have only business people who will be selling products that portray the country’s beauty."
PIC: The Ethiopian team arrived on Thursday. (Credit: Juliet Kasirye)
EVENT: 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championship
HOST: Kampala, UGANDA
VENUE: Kololo Independence Grounds
DATE: This Sunday (March 26)
As Uganda’s athletics lovers are gearing up for the 2017 IAAF World Cross country championships, businesses in Kampala City are already cashing in.
Athletes from Team USA have already been spotted in the city doing a little shopping and the sense is, there’s more where that came from.
The short-term benefits to Kampala and the larger tourism sector have been estimated to have the potential of surpassing $1m during the duration of the championships, with the mid to long term gains calculated to be higher.
But the onus is obviously on the local organizing committee to make it easier for world cross country delegates to see, run into or access whatever they may or may not feel like buying.
The craft business is naturally expected to make a windfall. Locally branded art pieces, clothes, jewelry, t-shirts, bags and the like are an easy target for visitors looking for souvenirs.
KCCA spokesperson Robert Kalumba told New Vision about plans to advance the cause of business at Kololo on Sunday.
“We want to avoid chaos and overcrowding in the area to ensure the event is a success,” said Kalumba.
“So we intend to have only business people who will be selling products that portray the country’s beauty and can serve as souvenirs to our guests. We have also deployed tight security at the venue and we shall not allow any kind of hawkers to show up.”
Booklets about Uganda’s tourist attractions have been placed at information tables at the official hotels and many teams will have an opportunity to explore the country’s natural dainties after the event.
Organising the biennial championships is expected to cost Uganda over sh5b, a figure that obviously cannot be recouped in a few days after the Sunday event.
But more will be made in return over the next six months, according to experts.