The three firms, Kamageo and KPRN. The three companies are reputable for representing, promoting and seeking tourism investments for many countries. The three will do the same on behalf of Uganda in the North America, UK and Ireland, and German speaking markets respectively at a total cost of US$1.5million for a year.
A statement from the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) notes that the firms were chosen after an international competitive bidding process managed and funded by the World Bank through the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP), coordinated by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU). The five-year project comprises of four major components and is being implemented by seven agencies.
Edris Kisambira, the Managing Director of Africa Uzuri Safaris Ltd, a private tour operator in Uganda hailed the advent of destination managers as a positive though long-overdue step. Kisambira says the hiring of the Destination Managers will galvanize efforts by individual private tour operations to promote Uganda in major tourist source countries in Europe and North America.
“Although the benefits of this undertaking are not likely to come in the short term, it is definitely a positive step. Many countries such as Malawi and Rwanda who are no where near Uganda’s tourism potential are able to attract a large of tourists simply because they use Destination managers,”
Kisambira noted further that Rwanda has earned the reputation as the world’s destination for Gorilla Tracking, even though Uganda has a bigger population of the wild primates, simply because it hires Destination Managers.
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is one of the beneficiary Government Agencies that has received support from World Bank. Under CEDP, the tourism sector is being supported through product planning, packaging and promotion among other components.
The statement added that the CEDP project will support the Government of Uganda in promoting tourism products and services to key source markets in North America (USA and Canada), UK and Ireland; and Germany speaking Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
“The purpose is to popularize Uganda’s existing and new tourism products and services in order to increase their visibility and attract more tourists.
“According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism has the power to drive inclusive development, create jobs and build the sustainable societies we want for our future. Tourism builds mutual understanding and can help us safeguard our shared natural and cultural heritage,” said Maria Mutagamba, the former Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.
The overall objective of the assignment is to leverage Uganda as a prime tourism travel destination. This is to be achieved by providing strategic marketing, sales representation and public relations services in North America (USA and Canada), UK and Ireland; and Germany speaking Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). This is to increase tourism arrivals and length of stay in the country and overall spend.
Uganda Tourism Board CEO Stephen Asiimwe says the firms work will directly impact on development and employment in Uganda.
“In 2015, the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was UGX2,982.1bn (3.7% of GDP). This is forecast to rise by 0.7% to UGX3,002.7bn in 2016,” says Asiimwe. He adds that this contribution reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agents, airlines entertainment, leisure, and transportation services.