Uganda showcased its great weather, wildlife, culture, heritage, investment opportunities and unique location as the ultimate destination
Uganda's exhibiton stand at the World Travel Market expo in London
Uganda's tourism won large publicity and interest in UK's top media leading to inquiries in the destination at the just-concluded three-day event World Travel Market (WTM) expo in London. The WTM is one of the world's largest tourism trade expos.
Uganda's tourism was featured on a full page spread in the travel section of the UK's most prestigious and influential newspaper The Financial Times on Sunday. The Financial Times, fondly referred to as FT or the Pinky, because of its distinctive pink colour, prizes itself as being, "Recognized internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The Financial Times has an average daily readership of 2.2 million people worldwide.
FT.com has 4.5 million registered users and over 285,000 digital subscribers, as well as 600,000 paying users. FT Chinese has more than 1.7 million registered users.
"For Uganda to appear in the FT is very good publicity especially that it was featured on a full page as the lead story on the eve of the WTM is mark of honor, visibility and recognition for us as a country," says UTB Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Asiimwe.
Led by the Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu and hosted by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda exhibiting at the Excel international Convention Centre located on the northern quay of the Royal Victoria Dock in London Docklands, between Canary Wharf and London City Airport.
The three-day event was attended also by 20 private sector exhibitors who also included hoteliers and accommodation property owners. "In 2015 and 2016, Uganda had 18 private sector players. This is the largest contingent of private sector players and we are very hopeful there will be an increase in numbers," Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO of the UTB said yesterday.
UTB also provided promotional materials, meals, entertainment, media, speaking engagements and coordinated meetings with different players.
Uganda's government delegation also included the state minister of tourism, Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, the shadow tourism minister and MP for Kasese, Hon Robert Centenary, and the outgoing Tourism Permanent Secretary Amb. Patrick Mugoya. Mr. Mugoya has been transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Others are the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and the High Commission in London led by Amb. Joyce Kikafunda.
"We are here to aggressively market Uganda in all its facets," Prof. Kamuntu said at a media briefing at the Uganda Stand. "President Yoweri Museveni has promised us more support and we are determined to push Uganda to a middle income economy by 2031 and tourism will be one of the cash cows in this endeavor," he added.
"The hiring of a public relations and marketing firm for the UK market has been a big boost in bringing business contacts, appointments and securing good deals for our tour operators," Asiimwe said.
Kamageo group was responsible for the increased publicity, visibility and interest in Uganda. Kamageo has been running a "Discover Your Uganda" campaign under the Pearl of Africa brand. This has led to writers flying into Uganda and writing and covering travel experiences from Bwindi Impenetrable forests to Kidepo National Park and covered in top media houses like National Geographic, The Sun Newspaper, The Daily Star, The Independent, Rough Guides, among others.
At the WTM Uganda featured in a travel trade center-spread magazine, the TTG@WTM with a readership of 50,000 readers in print and on-line.
In May 2016, Uganda hired three PR and Marketing companies for North America, German Speaking and English speaking countries. The UK firm, which was contracted, Kamageo, has been very instrumental in engaging mainly UK travel trade and media companies to highlight travel experiences to Uganda. The event which was launched by President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe has seen over six groups from top Media and Travel companies do familiarization trips to Uganda.
Uganda showcased its great weather, wildlife, culture, heritage, investment opportunities and unique location as the ultimate destination under the Pearl of Africa brand.
Prof. Kamuntu as head of delegation and the State Minister for Tourism Hon. Kiwanda held several meetings and interviews with top media companies like CNN and Travel One magazines and engagements with private public sector players in the UK. Hon. Kiwanda also launched the Tulambule (Let's tour) UK Chapter campaign in London.
Uganda also co-exhibited with its neighbors Kenya and Rwanda under the Borderless borders brand and the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee, an initiative that was signed on by the heads of State summit of the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Projects initiative.
Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) chairperson, commended Ugandans for exhibiting very well.
"The Uganda stand and the participants have made us proud and we as UHOA will ensure that in future expos we also participate effectively," she added.