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Inside Cheptegei’s deal with the Uganda Tourism Board



The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) on Wednesday unveiled long distance runner and world champion Joshua Cheptegei as the country’s new face of tourism and he will take on the role of a global tourism ambassador for a year.

According to UTB Chief Executive Officer Ms Lilly Ajarova, the board seeks to leverage Cheptegei’s stardom, his love for Uganda and the wide number of platforms available to him, to promote and market the country as a preferred  tourism destination for both domestic and international tourists.

Cheptegei now becomes another of the county’s stars  that tourism authorities have unveiled in the past years with similar roles including musician Eddy Kenzo, and socialites like Zari Hassan and Anitah Fabiola.

 “Mr Cheptegei’s partnership with UTB, to promote brand destination Uganda, also complements other ongoing initiatives and brand ambassadors, such as award-winning artist, Eddy Kenzo, who was unveiled by the Ministry as the Tourism Ambassador 2020/21,” Ajarova said.

The partnership will see both parties  fulfil a wide range of obligations until it is seen out in a year’s time.

For example, UTB will have to brand Cheptegei and his team whenever they are engaging in sports activities on both domestic and international scenes and also conduct a tourism destination training to equip them with tourism-related information and knowledge.

UTB will manage Cheptegei’s social media pages through its branding and advertising agency to enhance his brand visibility and will also facilitate his in-land travel and welfare while undertaking tourism-related tours across the country.

Also, UTB will be expected to obtain the required permits to enable Cheptegei access National Parks and engage in activities like game drives, boat rides and gorilla tracking among others.

On his part Cheptegei will be required to engage in and endorse tourism campaigns aimed at marketing and promoting Uganda as a preferred tourism destination and his image will be used by UTB in photographs, videos and promotional collateral.

The world champion will also be expected to promote destination Uganda during his domestic and international sports activities by dressing up in branded uniforms which he has to display. 

On top of a requirement for Cheptegei to engage his domestic, regional and international athletics networks and peers encouraging them to visit Uganda, he will also have to create publicity and awareness of the tourism destinations in the country that he travels to and attend any other tourism promotion events if he is available.

He will also be required to acknowledge, recognize and publicize UTB as the official tourism partner during press conferences, speeches, announcements, commercials and sports events.


Impactful tourism

While accepting the role, Cheptegei highlighted the need to use tourism and its proceeds to transform several lives along the tourism value chain across the country.

“Having been born and raised in the mountainous Kapchorwa district in the Sebei region on the slopes of Mountain Elgon, close to the famous Sipi falls, I am deeply ware of the impact of tourism on livelihoods from the top to the very bottom of the chair,” he said. “I know what tourism can do for the youths, women groups and even the uneducated. There is room for everyone to transform their lives.”

According to Cheptegei, Uganda’s beauty and endowment will be a waste if it is not sold to the world to attract as many tourists as it can and this he said, he will do wholeheartedly starting with encouraging Ugandans in the diaspora to return and visit their country.

 “It is our responsibility as Ugandans to shout on top of the mountains and down in the valleys to everybody across the world such that we attract more and more visitors,” he said.


About Cheptegei.

 Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (born 12 September 1996) is a Ugandan long-distance runner and 2019 world champion in the 10,000 m.

He is the tenth man in history to hold the 5,000m and 10,000m world records concurrently, both set in 2020.

In 2017, he became the silver medallist in the 10,000 metres event at the World Championship in London.

In 2018, he set a world record for the 15 km road race and became the cross country world champion in 2019.

In 2020, at a road race in Monaco, he set a new world road 5 km record of 12:51, breaking through the event’s 13-minute barrier, taking 9 seconds from the previous best time of 13:00, set by Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer in 2000.

In August 2020, at the Monaco Diamond League meet, he set a new 5000 metres world record of 12:35.36, breaking Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old world record of 12:37.35 set in Hengelo.

On 7 October 2020, in Valencia, he set a world record time of 26:11.00 in the 10000 meters, which again improved on Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old record by more than 6 seconds.


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Edgar Mathew Karuhanga is a Ugandan journalist who loves adventure and believes in living a life of purpose for his family and community.


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