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Uganda seeks more vistors from Kenya in new tourism drive

Tourism Authorities in Uganda are seeking to establish partnerships with Kenyan tour operators, first through an ongoing road show,  which targets a gradual increase in the number of vistors entering Uganda from Kenya by 50% in 2023. 

According to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the initiative will boost intra Africa tourism between the two neigbours.

Focus will be put on visitors from Kenya to explore Uganda’s  tourism products like nature, adventure, leisure, business and cultural attractions.

The roadshow comes in the wake of UTB’s intensified campaign to reposition Uganda as a leading tourism destination on the continent under a new brand dubbed “Explore Uganda”.

To kick off the activities, UTB has launched a roadshow at the Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23rd to 25th May in a bid to increase tourist arrivals from Kenya .

Kenya is a key tourism source market making up almost half of the African arrivals to Uganda. 

With Kenya’s developed travel trade sector coupled with its connectivity to the rest of the world, Uganda Travel Trade partners are banking on the roadshow to secure partnerships that increase tourists to Uganda from Kenya.

Over 278 operators from Kenya are being targeted  to create business linkages with 35 operators from Uganda.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Uganda’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, His Excellency Evans Aryabaha, hailed the tourism industry as a powerful catalyst that will enhance the bilateral and cultural relations between the two countries.

On her part, Ms Claire Mugabi, UTB’s  Marketing Manager said that Kenya is the biggest
source market of tourists to Uganda, and outlined future plans to increase awareness of
Uganda as a destination that offers an adventure of a lifetime.

“Our refreshed destination brand identity captures the essence of the Pearl of Africa with
its mesmerizing experiences catering to the needs of diverse travellers with its endemic
and endangered flora and fauna, pleasant year-round weather, punctuated by unique
scenery,” she added.

Kenya Association of Tour Operators Chair Mr. Fred Odek emphasized the need for joint
tourism promotional activities by Kenya and Uganda tourism stakeholders.

“We see a great opportunity for outbound tourism to the East African Community (EAC)
countries to get more tourists to Kenya and simultaneously send tourists from Kenya to
other countries in the region. Uganda will benefit significantly owing to its geographical
proximity and long history of good relations with Kenya,” said Mr. Odek.

Over 278 Kenya tourism and travel agents are expected to participate in the roadshow
that is aimed at enhancing Destination Uganda’s presence in the Kenyan market.

The event will also boost business-to-business opportunities while strengthening the Explore
Uganda brand in Kenya.

The highlights of the three-day roadshow include Pearl of Africa brand launch in Kenya,
direct engagements with key tourism trade partners, government representatives and
travel media.

Before the pandemic, Uganda received over 1.5 million tourists in 2019 and registered
over 512,000 travellers in 2020.

However, the country’s tourism industry is poised for recovery with renewed emphasis on intra-African travel market as a key marketing strategy. in 2019, the Tourism sector contributed 7.7% of Uganda’s GDP and over 667,000 jobs. 58% of the Uganda tourism workforce is composed of women.

Tourism data from 2019 shows the top three Africa source markets in included Rwanda (32%),  Kenya (24%) and Tanzania at 6%. President Yoweri Museveni described the new brand Explore Uganda, Pearl of Africa as a key strategy to re-imagine Uganda’s tourism sector and position the country as a competitive international travel destination.

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