Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has said it will now turn focus to the outside world as a way of restarting tourism having been hit badly by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the launch of the sixth Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo set for April 23 to 25, Lilly Ajarova, the UTB Chief Executive Officer said that by December 2020, the country had lost an estimated one million foreign tourists translating into shs3.91 billion, adding that this year’s edition to be held virtually will aim at restarting tourism, especially for the outside world.
“The sixth Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is a stitch in time as we seek to recover, rebuild, reconnect and reboot our tourism. POATE 2021 will enable trade visitors and exhibitors to showcase and obtain the latest information on available tourism products from Uganda,” Ajarova said on Wednesday evening.
According to the UTB boss, hosted buyers and exhibitors will be sourced from the existing core and emerging source markets within the East African region including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda as well as the rest of Africa including Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria.
“POATE will also target international markets like North America, UK and Ireland; German-speaking countries, Japan, Gulf states, China, the new markets of France, Belgium and Netherlands.”
Speaking about the first-ever virtual edition, Ajarova said this year’s POATE has been specifically set with a platform that will facilitate one-on-one meetings, virtual speed networking sessions as well as live conference sessions for domestic, regional and international tourism players.
“Leveraging on the power of the internet, this time we expect to attract more than 200 exhibitors,” she said of this year’s expo that will be aimed at increased destination awareness, increased product knowledge and relationship building.
The Minister for Tourism, Col Tom Butime said government according to the National Development Plan anticipates that by 2025 international tourism arrivals from the key source markets of US, Europe and China will grow from 210,000 to 500,000 tourists to increase the annual tourism revenues to $3 billion.
This year’s Pearl of Africa tourism expo will be held under the theme; Restarting Tourism For Regional Economic Development.