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Uganda to host ATA, world's leading promoter of travel and tourism to Africa

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th May 2014 02:44 PM

For over five years now, Uganda’s tourism sector has been desperately praying for a grand opportunity to market its tourism endowments to the world.

Uganda to host ATA, world's leading promoter of travel and tourism to Africa

For over five years now, Uganda’s tourism sector has been desperately praying for a grand opportunity to market its tourism endowments to the world.

For over five years now, Uganda’s tourism sector has been desperately praying for a grand opportunity to market its tourism endowments to the world. 

 
As destiny would have it, their prayers were answered last week after an advance team from the Africa Travel Association (ATA), a leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa-concluded a five day final preparation of its week long congress slated to be hosted in Uganda from November 11 to 16. Writes Solomon Oleny. 
 
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President Museveni meets the ATA and Uganda Tourism sector officials at his country home in Rwakitura. PHOTO/PPU
 
Having failed to effectively market its tourism endowments to the world due to its miserable sh1.4b budget, Uganda’s tourism sector has over the last five years received the least influx of tourists annually in the East Africa Region (less than one million) compared to its neighbours Kenya and Tanzania and Rwanda each of which receives at least 2 million tourists.
 
As a result, annual revenue realized from the sector has never exceeded the sh1b mark which would have otherwise earned it the first place as the country’s biggest revenue earner. 
 
However, following Africa Travel Associations choice of Uganda as the preferred host for its 39th Congress, the sector is hopeful for a breakthrough.
 
Susan Muhwezi, president of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association also president of ATA Ugandan Chapter explains that the event will be a major step towards establishing Uganda’s presence in the North American market, which is one of the priority targets of Uganda Tourism Board.
 
In a move to achieve this, ATA will fly in an international media team of 22 journalists especially the tourism and travel press who will be arriving weeks ahead of the congress. 
 
“Upon arrival, the press team will pursue a week long familiarization trip around Uganda’s cream tourism attractions with the intent of popularizing them as prime tourism destinations-to the world-especially ATAs over 5Million online followers,” Muhwezi explained.
 
According to Emma Nahayo , Public relations officer ministry of touism, this will in turn drive tourism traffic into the country.
 
“In the event that 500,000 of these one million followers come to Uganda, Uganda will be $650M richer for every day they will spend in the country because an average tourist in Uganda spends $1300 a day on travel expenses like accommodation, transport, food among others,” said Nahayo.
 
Stephen Asiimwe, Chief Executive officer, Uganda Tourism Board agrees the congress will market Uganda like never before adding that it will serve as a catalyst in promoting investment in domestic  and regional tourism, and involving the youth and local media both of which are also priorities of the UTB.
 
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President Museveni meets the ATA and Uganda Tourism sector officials at his country home in Rwakitura. PHOTO/PPU
 
What makes this honour so special?
 
According to Edward Bergman, CEO ATA, unlike other prestigious tourism honours which Uganda has earned in the recent past like lonely planet’s favourite tourism destination 2012, National Geographic’s top 20 global tourism destinations in the year 2013, the African Travel Association congress is one of a kind whose impact will be felt right away.
 
Aside from marketing Uganda through the International press, ATA will fly in a team of over 400 tourism business associates and expatriates, tourism minsters from across Africa for its congress-slated to be hosted in Munyonyo.
 
This will provide Uganda’s tourism investors, travel agents, hoteliers and safari companies a grand opportunity for mixing and mingling, with the associates and businessmen thus building networks and expanding their trade affiliations beyond limits.
 
“In turn, this will help them in accomplishing their break through, something which has not been possible in the past as many of them could not afford to travel for international tourism exhibitions and trade fares as its diamond expensive,”  Bergman explains.
 
What is ATA?
 
Established in 1975, The Africa Travel Association is the leading global trade association promoting travel and tourism to Africa and strengthening intra-Africa partnerships.
 
 ATA serves both public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry. 
 
Its membership comprises of African Governments, their tourism ministries, Tourism bureaus and boards, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, front line travel sellers and providers, our operators and travel agents. 
 
It partners with the African Union Commission to promote the sustainable development of Tourism to and across Africa. 
Through its annual events in Africa and United States, ATA brings together industry leaders to shape Africa’s tourism agenda.
 
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Uganda to host ATA, world’s leading promoter of travel and tourism to Africa

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