EU to commit Shs60bn to support tourism sector

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EU to commit Shs60bn to support tourism sector
Exhibitors give information to visitors at one of the stall.

The European Union is committed to supporting tourism sector through financing, visibility and fostering local participation in tourism development, EU Ambassador to Uganda Jan Sadek has said.

Amb Sadek was speaking during a panel discussion on the theme; Sustainable Financing for Tourism held on the sidelines of the ongoing Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) at Munyonyo in Kampala.

The panel discussion was moderated by the Principal of the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) and tourism enthusiast Richard Kawere.

“I am happy to learn that government is committed to marketing Uganda. This is a positive development because most people in my country Sweden hardly know about Uganda. They can only mention Idi Amin and only know little,” Amb Sadek said.

His comment followed Treasury Secretary Ramathan Ggoobi’s comment that government will invest in branding and marketing Uganda as a preferred tourism destination.

Mr Ggoobi, also the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, said government has a policy of supporting sectors abbreviated as ATM, including Agriculture, Tourism and Mining.

He said tourism development is projected to generate $50 billion in 2040 up from about $2 billion in 2023.

Panelists at the tourism expo

Mr Ggoobi said he was aware tourism in Uganda was still faced with many challenges including limited marketing, inadequate workforce with limited skills and poor road infrastructure.

“The government is implementing interventions worth $68 million under the Competitive Enterprise Development Project (CEDP), including upgrading both the infrastructure and skills at UHTTI in Jinja and Uganda Wildlife Research Training Institute and enhancing the capacity of the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre,” Ggoobi said.

He cautioned Ugandans to stop bad-mouthing their country which he said is affecting the growth of the sector.

“Tourism development is a business for every citizen and also every ministry, department and agency of government. It cannot be left alone to UTB,” Ggoobi said.

The vice-chancellor of Victoria University, Prof Lawrence Muganga, in an earlier discussion, urged UTB to adopt disruptive thinking strategy to market the country.

“At Victoria University, we organised a music battle between Cinderella Sanyu aka Cindy and Sheebah Karungi and the public was wondering what a university had to do with music but we managed to capture people’s internet and we didn’t pay them a single penny for moving the name of the university on their phones,” Prof Muganga said.

Victoria University was also at one time on the spot for appointing Shanitah Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black as their brand ambassador.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is an annual tourism and travel trade show that is organized by the Uganda Tourism Board.

The event brings together tourism chain actors and stakeholders who come together for networking opportunities and business deals.

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