As part of the efforts to restart the tourism industry greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, government has started courting members of the entertainment industry to promote Uganda as a tourist destination.
In a meeting organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Uganda Tourism Board , Minister Godfrey Kiwanda told musicians, performers and deejays under their umbrella body, the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) at Mestil Hotel in Kampala that government is ready to work with them to promote the country abroad as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery initiative.
“We would like to work with the creative arts industry including musicians and deejays to incorporate their works in domestic, regional and international tourism. Uganda is our country and selling it is a collective responsibility. The best way to do this is as a team, because when Uganda grows, we all grow. We have a lot we share in common,”Kiwanda said.
The Minister said that before the onset of the pandemic and its effects like the lockdown, music was one of the biggest drivers of tourism globally.
He noted there is need to restart the same locally.
“There are a large number of music festivals held around the world that annually attract non-local visitors. In Uganda, Nyege Nyege is one of those mass-appeal events. The impact of these music events on the local economy is massive and largely inclusive. The opportunities spread to all the stakeholders in the music value chain that I mentioned and include the media, food and beverage, accommodation, clothes, transport, security and so many other micro-jobs feeding into these events,” he said.
“Music is also a powerful promotion tool and I know that a number of musicians and other creative artists have carried Uganda’s flag to heights and places that were otherwise not possible using the traditional promotional tools.”
Doreen Katusiime, the Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary said Uganda offers a dream tourism destination to all visitors that need to be marketed by all Ugandans.
“Uganda, as a country gifted by nature is characterized by some of the most diverse and unique assemblages of pristine eco-systems, scenic physical features, water bodies, variety of flora and fauna species and a fast and vibrant stable economy. The music and media have the talent and tools to package and tell this story to the world. Indeed, some of the motivations to travel to many destinations is an aura created by the images and music that showcased that particular place. It is in that respect that we recognize the power of music and appeal for the partnership in promoting the destination Uganda,” she said.
Mugabi Claire, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Head of Marketing said that in recognition of this role, the board will, moving forward, put significant emphasis on the creative arts industry.
Uganda has in the past been named among the top 10 destinations for tourists around the world and with the revival of the national carrier, tourism arrivals will be boosted as they will now have direct flights to Entebbe.
Measuring 241,040 square kilometers, Uganda is also known as the Pearl of Africa due to its diverse natural endowments and is home to the largest collection of tribes (64) and dialects per square inch.
Uganda also controls 39% of Africa’s biodiversity whereas it also has 50% of Africa’s bird species and more birds than the entire North America.
Uganda is home to more than half the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and trekking to observe these gentle giants in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of the world’s top bucket list travel activities.
Safari opportunities abound in savanna, forest, and wetland settings throughout 10 national parks, where visitors can come face to face with “The Big Five” – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo – as well as giraffe, zebra, chimpanzee, hippopotamus, crocodile, and more than half of all bird species found in Africa.