Stunning scenery and the prospect of an encounter with a rare mountain gorilla. Elements drawing in foreign visitors contributing about 1.4 billion dollars to the Ugandan economy each year. But tourism experts now want to target more visitors from Eastern Africa.
“We need start as a country; Ugandans must accept that they need to travel within Uganda but at the same time East Africans must travel within East Africa before they go anywhere else. If you don’t know your own country you will not support it, you need to first understand your country” Said Amos Wekesa, Tourism Expert
Kenneth Kimuli’s childhood dream was to travel outside his country, intrigued by the prospect of visiting the places he studied in school textbooks.
“I normally work on the principle that kids who don’t visit think their mum cooks best so I also wanted to see things we used to study like Canadian prairies so I thought I had been to East Africa so why don’t I step out of my comfort zone and get to see what the world has to give me out there” Said Kenneth Kimuli, Traveler
Kenya recently appointed Ugandan musician Eddy Kenzo to be a tourism ambassador, helping to attract more than 50,000 travellers from Uganda last year.
“There has been little understanding for people responsible for marketing to try and attract numbers from the region to Uganda and what Kenya has done is so brilliant. It is focusing on some one that many people follow and normally if you want to market a destination you use influencers and he is one” Said Amos Wekesa, Tourism Expert
Uganda has successfully marketed its national parks to travellers from Europe, the US and China. But tourism contributes only a small portion of its overall economic growth.
So tour operators say investing now in marketing to other East African countries could significantly boost revenues and provide opportunities to invest more in improving Uganda’s tourism infrastructure.