FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 22/10/2021
KAMPALA October 22, 2021 – In a bid to cushion the highly hit tourism sector and catalyse its journey towards recovery, the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) hosted a breakfast of the country’s leading Chief Executives with a call to action of expanding domestic tourism promotion through the incentive travel for the corporate organization.
The move is supplementary to several efforts aimed at bringing one of the country’s main GDP contributors (the tourism sector) back to its feet, following a dearth episode caused by a ravelling pandemic.
Speaking at the event which was held this morning at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel, Mrs. Pearl Hoareau Kakooza, the President of the country’s tourism private sector umbrella body, made a pertinent appeal to the company chiefs to harness domestic tourism as an alternative tool for motivating their labour force through reward actions like paid holidays, which she said would strengthen corporate synergy and improve productivity at the workplace.
This activation is part of an ongoing rejuvenation drive dubbed the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Resilience Response Program (CERRRP Project); a series of actions aimed at supporting tourism and hospitality enterprise to revive the tourism industry in Uganda with funding from the Mastercard Foundation, and implemented by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and Uganda Tourism Association.
“In the recent times, the domestic market has become a key focus in our promotional efforts. Indeed, successful world tourism destinations are characterised by a strong domestic market. This is an existing market that is less prone to seasonal fluctuations or basing travel decisions on the international media and foreign advisory note ratings of the destination,” said Doreen Katusiime the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities.
“I am happy to note that there is increasing visitation by the Ugandans to our destinations. This demand is supported by the growing size of the middle class, the influx of the corporate sector and the ICT revolution that has made information more accessible,” Ms. Katusiime added.
The Chief Host of the event, Dr. Elly Karuhanga, a seasoned private sector investor and the chair of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda said “we need to embrace our country as Corporate main stream it our policies, Lets be the change”
This comes at a time when more and more players are advocating for a form of tourism that allows for Ugandan residents to travel within their country, an aim to diversify promotion efforts from the previously almost entirely foreign-focused marketing to more inclusiveness.
“Today we are also kickstarting a period of subsidised trips around Uganda for Ugandans, booked through Ugandan professional tour operators,” said Mr. Richard Kawere the UTA CEO.
At the same event, winners of the Uganda Travel Writing Competition were rewarded with once-in-a-lifetime holiday prizes. The contest had aimed at encouraging Ugandans to tell stories about their holiday experiences through writing but also grow into travel writers to create content for promotion.
The Tourism and Hospitality industry was the hardest-hit sector of the economy by the ongoing Outbreak. The 2020 COVID-19 Impact Economic Study carried out by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities revealed that at least 1 million tourist arrivals were lost, 7 in every 10 jobs in the sector lost, 8 in every 10 hotels business registered business cancellations, 448,996 hotel rooms were canceled between March to July 2020, 9 in every 10 tour companies registered cancellations. The overall average Job loss in the sector was over 74%.
Allan Ssenyonga the CERRRP Project manager at the MasterCard Foundation said that the COVID-19 Economic Recovery & Resilience Response Program is one of the two programs funded by the Master Card Foundation at the Private Sector Foundation Uganda and that tourism is a priority sector.
Mr. Francis Kisirinya, the PSFU ED thanked UTA for having responded promptly to the effects of the pandemic to come up with excellent proposals to aid the recovery of the tourism sector.
About the Uganda Tourism Association
The Uganda Tourism Association is the umbrella body that brings together all tourism trade associations in Uganda. The current member trade unions include the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, Uganda Safari Guides Association, Uganda Hotel Owners Association, The Uganda Association of Travel Agents, National Arts and Cultural Crafts Association of Uganda, Association of Uganda Women in Tourism Trade, Uganda Community Tourism Association and Hotel General Managers Association Of Uganda. These associations altogether represent tour operators, travel agents, accommodation facilities, tour guides, community-based organizations, etc. and membership is steadily increasing.