Uganda’s tourism sector players urged to take part of forthcoming expo
Tourism authorities in Uganda have urged sector players to get involved in the forthcoming Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) as the country gears up to restart the sector.
Speaking ahead of the expo slated for April 27 and 29, Ms Lily Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Chief Executive Officer said that rebuilding the sector that has been hit by the pandemic since March last year when the country went into a total lockdown to curb the spread of the corona virus.
Ms Ajarova said that whereas there had been a lot of disruptions, it was time to leverage on the slight recovery in the economy to rebuild the sector’s resilience.
“I would like to urge all our tourism sector players to get involved in POATE 2021, as we together seek to recover, rebuild, reconnect and reboot our tourism,” she said.
For instance, she said, Uganda offers probably the most competitive destination for both investors and travellers, with the country presenting the best value for money opportunity in terms of attractions per square kilometre for adventure and nature lovers.
Uganda, according to UTB, is richly blessed with 39 per cent of Africa’s mammal richness, 19 species of primates, including 53.9 per cent of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, 11 per cent of the world’s recorded species of birds or half of Africa’s bird species and 19 per cent of Africa’s amphibian species richness.
However, the study notes that domestic tourism has helped to cushion the sector supported by government’s re-opening of border points and international air travel.
In September last year government reopened international airspaces, allowing a number of international arrivals, which, according to Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, has been recovering, growing to more than 32,958 in March alone.
The recovery, UTB says, will be key in rebuilding the tourism sector, whose recovery will be boosted by a number of inactivates including the upcoming POATE.
The 2021 POATE, which is expected to be a virtual event, will seek to leverage on the power of technology and the Internet to grow participation with more than 200 exhibitors expected.
This is the third time UTB is organising POATE, a platform that government has used to grow tourism numbers, especially in key source markets, such China, US and Europe. Opportunities during and after POATE
According to Ms Ajarova, POATE 2021will be a marketplace for key players in the tourism sector, in which participants will meet, share profile and opportunities and subsequently, close deals, either there and then or post-POATE.
The tourism value chain including international travel agents, transporters, providers of hospitality services and domestic travel agents and guides, are expected to benefit from POATE.
Tourism has been an important aspect in the creation of jobs.
In 2018/19, the sector created 667,600 jobs, 77 per cent of which were taken up by youth aged between 18 and 30 years.