Uganda underscores culture, conservation to grow tourism

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Uganda will increase its focus on growing the country as a preferred destination for the German market, with an intensified focus on conservation tourism. 

This was announced by Godfrey Kiwanda, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities during a press conference held on March 7, 2019 at the ITB Berlin Tourism Expo.

Godfrey Kiwanda, State Minister for Tourism (5R) is flanked by UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova (3L) and UHOA’s Suzan Muhwezi during the ITB Berlin Tourism Expo in Germany

“You are contributing to conservation when you visit Uganda,” said Kiwanda. “You’ve come to conserve with us. Conservation is expensive, and we can only do it in partnership with you. ”Germany is Uganda’s third-largest source market, and its growing interest in Uganda’s nature and cultural offerings has made the local tourism authorities intensify their efforts to grow this market. “We want to make tourism everybody’s business,” said Kiwanda, adding that Uganda would pursue more tourism partnerships and embark on more aggressive marketing through digital marketing campaigns.

Team Uganda. Godfrey Kiwanda (seated center) is poses for a photo with UTB CEO Lilly Ajarova (2R) and UHOA’s Suzan Muhwezi and other officials during the ITB Berlin Tourism Expo in Germany

The country already has a very strong focus on the conservation of its natural habitats and wildlife, and highlighted in the press conference was the dual benefits to Germans of visiting the country through ‘travel with a purpose’.

“The pearl of Africa (Uganda) is currently not packaged in a way that is easy for the German market to understand,” noted Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). “The country needs to improve on its marketing, and look to the younger market (millennials and Generation Z) and their high level of activity on social media.

Uganda prepared and served ‘rolex’ to the world during the ITB Berlin Tourism Expo 2019

By the end of the year we will increase our digital activations,” she said. According to Hana Kleber, the CEO of KPRN, a destination marketing firm, Germans love to mix and mingle with locals.“Millennials especially like to mix with the locals and understand their culture and Germans also like to see developments in conservation,” She said.

Uganda is known for its gorilla and chimpanzee interactions, but is looking at further developing its cultural experiences. Uganda has also dedicated substantial resources towards conservation of its flora and fauna.

Uganda’s ‘rolex’ was showcased to the world during the ITB Berlin Tourism Expo

Sam Mwandha, the Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said 10% of Uganda’s 260 000 sq km is made up of national parks, “so we need conservation. We also need people to be able to live [alongside wildlife] – so 20% of fees charged to enter national parks goes to those communities. ”Tourism is currently Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner, bringing in in excess of US$1.45 billion (which is 23.5% of the total trade fairs) annually.

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