A group of young Ugandans has launched a travel writing competition that seeks to breathe some air into Uganda’s tourism sector that has been badly battered by Coronavirus pandemic and its effects like the lockdown for two years running.
Organised by Uganda Uncovered, a tourism clothing brand that aims at promotion of tourism in Uganda domestically and selling the country as a top tourism destination in Africa together with Karibu Travel Magazine, an online travel media company promoting domestic and regional tourism.
Speaking about the inaugural travel writing competition, Allen Namisango, the team leader at Uganda Uncovered said the move is aimed at identifying budding tourism and travel writers around the country, expose them to the country’s vast destinations, offer them opportunities to get published in major outlets but also provide them with mentorship from professionals in the field for the better.
“The competition will help fill the professional travel writing gap. You cannot talk about promoting domestic tourism and you leave out travel writing. It is one big aspect in which we can promote Uganda’s tourism,” Namisango said.
“The competition is going to be fun and educational at the same time. We are looking at the top six travel writers who will be able to promote the country positively in the long run. That is also one way we are going to revive domestic tourism that has been hit by the pandemic now for the whole year.”
Out of 30 entries, a total of the best six finalists will be chosen following a rigorous judgement process and these will win a trip to one of the country’s top destinations.
From this group, three will later be chosen from which then a winner will go into the books as the inaugural winner of this travel writing competition.
The top performers will win trips to one of Uganda’s national parks, a chance to write for different top media houses and to work under the mentorship of some of the country’s finest travel writers.
“For people interested in travel writing, we are going to harness their skills and this will in the long run reduce unemployment rates because they will have writing opportunities with travel magazines, newspapers, tour companies, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Tourism Association and personal blogs. This is something one can even do while at home. I therefore encourage all writers to participate in this competition,” Namisango added.
The competition is realised with help from the Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Wildlife and Education Centre, Vilakazi Safaris and Uganda Tourism Board.
Due to the Covid pandemic and its effects like the lockdown, Uganda’s tourism earnings dropped by 73% to shs4.1 trillion (US$0.5bn).
This was because several entry points to Uganda including the airports and the borders were closed for many months last year.
The game parks and other tourist sites were also closed to the public for fear of the spread of the virus.
Despite the partial reopening of the economy, the tourism sector is yet to recover fully but several interventions by stakeholders seem to be breathing some air in the badly battered sector.