Eddy Kenzo named Uganda’s new tourism ambassador
Ugandan afro beat musician Edirisa Musuuza AKA Eddy Kenzo has been named the country’s new tourism ambassador, authorities have announced.
Mr Kenzo was unveiled to the media on Tuesday September 1st 2020 as the new face of the sector which is Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner raking in $1.6 billion last year.
Tourism officials led by the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, presided over the unveiling in the capital Kampala.
The 2015 BET “Viewer’s Choice Best New International Artist award winner now takes over this role from former Miss Uganda and Miss World Africa, Quinn Abenakyo, together with socialites Zari Hassan and Anita Fabiola.
Tourism authorities contend that Eddy Kenzo, with his popularity across the continent and a massive following on social media will help influence both local and foreign visitors into the country.
Uganda has an ambitious target of having 4 million visitors a year but according to recent figures, the country received only 1.505 million visitors in 2018.
With over 1.4 million fans on Facebook, 338,000 followers on twitter and 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube, Kenzo —a self-made musician — is one of the most followed people in Uganda online.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Kenzo said he took his new role with “profound honour and great joy” thanking authorities for entrusting him with the task.
“While I will be required to also showcase our beauty to the outside world, I strongly believe it all begins with us. I therefore appeal to you all my friends, fans and all Ugandans to be a part of the #TulambuleMyUganda campaign to see what beauty we behold as a nation,” he said.
He added; “This for me is an opportunity to continue what I’ve been doing using my music to promote Uganda. As you will hear in the news, it’s entirely voluntary and I am glad to be doing this for my country.”
Kenzo is not new to a role like this, in 2017, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) announced him as their brand ambassador a move that sparked range both in Uganda and Kenya.
In Kenya, all classes of people from celebrities to local Kenyans online said that the board should have chosen a Kenyan instead with whom they could identify.
KTB defended its decisions saying that this was the first phase of a two- part influencer campaign strategy that was happening in India, Uganda, and Tanzania and would later be rolled out rolled out in Nigeria, South Africa as well as other international markets.
For Uganda, the story of Kenzo’s appointment for that role in Kenya was different and many online shifted blame to the Uganda Tourism Board for sleeping on the Job and allowing such an opportunity be snatched away from them.
Kenzo’s recent appointment hasn’t also caused debate on Ugandan social media with some suggesting that given his recent partisan outbursts, other people like long distance runner Joshua Cheptegei who recently surprised the world by breaking the 5,000m world record in his first track race of the season in Monaco last month would be an ideal fit.a