Miss tourism Uganda returns
Uganda’s annual Miss Tourism beauty pageant is set to return this year after a year of covid-19 disruptions.
This will be the tenth edition of the pageant which aims at increasing, empowering and celebrating the role of women in promoting the country’s tourism industry and will be used as a benchmark for the broader Miss Tourism East Africa that will be launched next year.
While announcing this year’s edition last week, the pageant’s Chief Executive Officer, Allan Kanyike said that they would this year run under the theme “Tourism is every ones business” with a major aim of empowering girl from across the country to be able to promote and invest or attract investments in tourism.
“By using these faces, it is one of the ways we are rethinking tourism. We want to deepen our understanding of tourism, promote it, and create individuals to foster it. We are going to continue creating more young people to promote tourism, “Mr Kanyike said.
The pageant is funded by government under the Uganda Tourism Board, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, and other partners like sport agencies and several Kingdoms around the country.
Miss tourism Uganda is broken down into the national and regional clusters to effectively reach the grassroots of tourism.
Across the country, cluster heads work closely with cultural leaders, local government, communities and individuals that are passionate about tourism to identify and vet participants.
Mr Vivian Lyazi, the commissioner for tourism at the country’s Ministry of tourism, wildlife and Antiquities said that the pageant is part of a larger plan to bring tourism closer to the people and blend it with their traditional culture.
This was part of the initial thing. How do we get tourism to the people? How do we get tourism connected to culture and how do we promote different cultures using beauty that we have all over the country. The clusters have done this,” Mr Lyazi said.
He also noted that a lot of innovation in new ways to promote tourism and protect the environment have been fostered by the pageant like the Rolex, Festival, Little miss Uganda, several tree planting campaigns and partnerships with foreign investors.
According to the organizers, the pageant has over the years attracted more interest within the 12 clusters across the country and has seen a more than 50% increase in the people signing up for it and with a multiplier effect of their friends and families picking interest in tourism.
Participants are mainly engaged in different activities during a single campaign that include conservation and awareness, road safety campaigns, cultural festivals, food tourism, support and promotion of local products, encouraging the girl child and women in business.
Others are tree planting, reconciliation and peace walks, fashion and music.
This year’s pageant will also be a benchmark for the wider regional Miss Tourism East African that is set to start next year.
“The time has come when we as Africans have to tell the African story ourselves and to be proud of who we are. In Africa we have so much. We are blessed with everything but what we aren’t blessed with is the pride. That’s is what we want to have through the East African Miss Tourism competition,” Ambassador Alice Kamunge, who heads the Kenyan chapter said.