Tour operators around the country have been warned against acting in an unprofessional manner while carrying out their duties.
Speaking during an engagement with tourism business stakeholders in greater Kigezi region, the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) board chairman, Everest Kayondo emphasized the need to conduct business with the greatest level of integrity and professionalism if both the tour operators and the country are to benefit.
“If you want to grow as a business and benefit from various incentives available for tourism businesses in the country, you must go formal to build a reputable company brand,”Kayondo told the tour operators in Kabale.
He said that the operators stand losing out on potential clients through tourists if they don’t act professional while carrying out their day today work.
Gloria Tumwesigye, the AUTO Chief Executive Officer encouraged tourism practitioners to adopt principles of sustainable tourism development in their operations for the benefit of the greater public.
“As we encourage you to operate more professionally, we also call upon you to develop the type of tourism that not only benefits your businesses but also builds the communities and protects the environment,”Tumwesigye noted.
She explained that by building the communities in which tourist attractions are found and also protecting the environment, it would ensure sustainability of the tourism sites.
The Kabale Town deputy mayor, Kedress Mutabazi applauded the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) for meeting and dialoguing with various tourism stakeholders in the area for the well-being of everyone.
The meeting organized by AUTO comes on the backdrop of the growing number of tour companies and tour guides in the Kabale and Kisoro areas premised on the fascinating lifestyle of the people and the presence of various tourist attractions but also the emergency of sham tour operators in the area hence the need for regulation.
Kabale, described as the Switzerland of Africa boasts of the stunning Lake Bunyonyi and more than half of the world’s Mountain gorillas in the neighboring Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which attract local and international tourists annually to enjoy gorilla tracking safaris.
The meeting which was held at Cephas Inn Kabale was attended by over 100 tour companies from the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Rukungiri and Kanungu; as well as local leaders, representatives of the other stakeholders in the tourism sector in the area.
On the sidelines of the conference, the board and management of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators also visited Little Angels Primary school and Orphanage centre located on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi in which talked to the school administration about inculcating an appreciation of the environment in their lessons for the children and the need to protect their unique heritage.
AUTO donated 50 jackets to cater for half of the students’ community and some of the teachers in the area who have to cross the lake every morning and evening yet only a few of them wear life jackets.