By Victor Tayebwa
Irene Allen Namisango is a young ambitious lady with a great idea: She wants to improve Uganda’s tourism through creative writing.
Namisango, 25, says to achieve this dream, she came up with the idea of “Uganda Uncovered” an organization that allows tourists that have travelled to different destinations to document their experiences as a way of promoting the sector and Uganda’s image.
“I used to be surrounded by a clique of friends who were just concerned about going to church and home and I felt e had to find a way of enticing them to travel and see what the pearl had,” she says.
That is how Namisango, who holds a degree in tourism, came up with Uganda Uncovered.
Uganda Uncovered is behind the annual travel writing competition whose objective is to increase marketing content about Uganda.
“This competition gives chance to youthful travel writers and women to pen their experiences about Uganda in a positive way. The best writers are rewarded with fully paid trips to any of Uganda’s leading tourism destination,” she said.
Uganda Uncovered also does a couple of tourism walks and trips to new places and those that are less considered tourism destination despite the beauty they hold.
She said Uganda Uncovered gives authentic Uganda Information on tourist attractions and accommodation.
Uganda uncovered has come up with various walks for example the Makerere University Tourism Walk, the Kampala Monument Walk and The Royal Mile Walk, which have been embraced by many people.
Namisango says has faced a few challenges since she came up with the idea of improving Uganda’s destination.
“The biggest challenge we are facing as Uganda Uncovered team is funding, we don’t have funders for our activities and projects,” she says.
She says some tour operators see them as competition as if they are trying to bring them down. This sometimes creates bad blood between them and the operators yet she believes they compliment the work done by the operators.
However, she says irrespective of the challenges, they have registered a number of achievements.
“We have promoted the notion of Ugandans putting on Ugandan branded clothes and it has caught on.
Travel guides, journalists and many people now put on shirts that promote Uganda’s image,” she says.
She says they also held the first ever travel writing competition in 2021 that attracted 72 entrants of which 64% were women.
The winners toured several tourist destinations like Murchison Falls National Park.
She says they have also gained an authentic social media following that perfectly puts out tourism destinations, activities and hotels to the right audience of tour operators, tour guides, agents, travel enthusiasts and companies.
She advises young people to be hardworking and push on with their dreams no matter the challenges.
“The problem is that many people give up at the first hurdle but when you stay focused, you succeed,” she says.
She says young people must learn to be innovative and come up with ideas that can improve their well being as opposed to just lamenting about the hardships they face.