Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Airlines have signed a partnership that will see both government entities strive to increase the inflow of tourists into the pearl of Africa as well as making case for the available resources in the country at different destinations where the national airliner flies.
This happened during the 5th edition of Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) hosted at the commonwealth hotel in Munyonyo presided over by the first deputy prime minister Gen (Rtd) Moses Ali.
The 2019 World Economic Forum, Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index ranked Uganda as the No.1 most price competitive destination in the East African region and the 39th out of 140 countries in the world.
Uganda boasts of a rich and diverse wildlife heritage owing to its unique location at the zone of overlap between the savannah of East Africa and the rainforests of West Africa. The country is distinctly blessed with spectacular landscapes of unrivaled beauty ranging from the great rift valleys to lake basins, crater lakes rolling plains, tropical forests, vast savannahs to permanently snowcapped Rwenzori mountains. The numerous landforms and habitats support rich and varied wildlife species and communities
Tourism is now the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda, bringing in US$ 1.6 billion (about 24% of the total exports) annually. With a recorded total of 1.5 million international arrivals, tourism which is largely wildlife-based contributes about 9.0% of GDP annually.
Cornwell Muleya, chief executive officer of Uganda Airlines said they will put up strategies to enable them source customers in destinations the national airline flies to so they can lure them to visit Uganda.
“We are trying to open up markets to market Uganda worldwide, our duty is to let the world discover Uganda through Uganda Airlines and to showcase Uganda in the manner of our service and the products we serve on board, thus we continue to connect Uganda to the world and connect the world to Uganda.”
“This partnership is about marketing Uganda to the rest of the world, with the power of us going out, we will make sure we source customers in various destinations we fly to. We will be widening our routes from the current 8 to 16 in the coming months.” Muleya said.
According to the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.8 million tourists in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 2017. An amount of USD. 1.4 Billion was registered in 2017 through tourism revenue, the tourism board is now targeting 4 million tourists in this year 2020.
Lilly Ajarova, the CEO of Uganda Tourism Board said the partnership agreement will help to promote destination Uganda,
“The partnership entails doing, working and synchronizing our plans and see where there are commonalities and see how we can put our small budgets together to see how we can get the most out of them. Together we are already talking to different partners in source markets to convince travelers to use Uganda Airlines.”
“We also want to help Uganda Airlines to create packages that we can sell and get Uganda Airlines to be the carrier of visitors to Uganda.
The airline expects to take delivery of two Airbus A330-800neo (257 seats), three classes for its long-haul routes to Europe, the Middle East, and India. One will be delivered in December 2020 and the other In January 2021.