The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo, which is a tourism, travel and trade exhibition, brought together various players in the tourism sector to network and facilitate tourism business. Speaking at a media roundtable on January 28 at Protea Hotel Kampala, Lilly Ajarova, the Chief executive, Uganda Tourism Board, encouraged local entrepreneurs to use sustainable tourism to sell their businesses to potential investors.
“Because we are promoting sustainable tourism, we are going to have some experts sharing their knowledge and expertise on different subjects and sustainable tourism development is one of them. The business meetings will give our local entrepreneurs a chance to share this idea and potentially grow their ventures,” Ajarova said.
The public was given an opportunity to interact with the local tour operators and understand the available offers in the market. Ajarova also said the expo would be used to promote tourism on an international scale with memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to be signed between Uganda Tourism Board and specific airlines.
The event, which took place on the shores of Lake Victoria, attracted over 57 international hosted buyers, 140 domestic and regional tourism operators as well as international and domestic media.
The expo, is running under the theme, ‘Promoting Intra-Africa Travel’ in a bid to raise awareness about the untapped potential presented by emerging African travel markets.
In a speech read for him by Ali, President Museveni said the expo would go a long way in “expanding business opportunities in the tourism sector in Uganda and the entire East African region.”
Museveni added that Uganda had significantly invested in creating “peace and stability, good road networks, enough electricity supply, better telecommunications networks and internet” and these investments would enable Uganda’s tourism sector to be competitive.
Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) told the delegates that Uganda was full of abundant tourism opportunities characterized by the richest tourism attractions portfolio, best value for money for investors and tourists alike and therefore healthy returns on investment.
“We have the richest and most diverse range of human, natural, cultural, religious and historical attractions complemented by a warm tropical climate, warm people, great accommodations and great food,” she said.
Ajarova, told the over 200 tourism business leaders from over 20 countries and 4 continents, that because Uganda has the “highest concentration of attractions over a smaller geographical area” where “tourists get to see more for less and there is something for everyone”, as a destination, Uganda offers the best value for money.”
Some of the tourists from around the globe who were hosted by the Uganda Tourism Board were very excited when they were given a glimpse of what the pearl of Africa had to offer.
One of the tourists was Samuel Abbang Appah from Ghana who said that Uganda was indeed the Pearl of Africa after he saw the amazing waterfalls of Murchison Falls and he encouraged everyone to come visit Uganda.
Appah noted that Uganda gives tourists a bit of everything, animals most especially indigenous animals that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Manager at the Craft Silicon Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!