Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) kicked off the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2023, at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort under the theme, ‘Explore Uganda’. The 4-day Expo that ran from 26th-29th April aimed at promoting Uganda’s tourism by bringing together regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies and various players in the tourism business.
Opening the 7th Tourism Fair this year, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Col Butime, the Chief Guest urged the industry to be mindful of the standards of facilities and type of service offered to the various guests and appealed to private sector players like Hoteliers and guides to get licensed for the benefit of keeping acceptable international standards.
During a discussion with Daudi Migereko, the Chairman of Board, UTB, it was revealed that the sector received government assurance on the refurbishment of regional airports in the surrounding national park areas that would allow tourists land in particular sites as it would ease access to the various attractions. He encouraged tourism boards and associations to collaborate with Uganda counterparts to design regional itineraries, tourism products that crossover the borders and also bespoke tourism products unique to each country, and market the products to the world.
Lilly Ajarova, UTB Chief Executive Director, expressed her gratitude to her team for their tireless efforts in rendering the Expo a success. She noted the aim of the exhibition was to ensure that citizens benefit from what they do and promote tourism globally. She revealed the need to introduce a new direction on sustainability and responsive tourism as the next emerging trends for tourism development in Uganda. Lilly Ajarova stated that POATE is an initiative to revive the industry back to its glory days as it will create opportunities for growth of the country and the economy at large.
For the remaining three days, exhibited and discussed were niche segments that were making the tourism industry vibrant comprising: Eco tourism, luxury, technology, tour guides, changing appliances in Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition (MICE) and medical tourism were displayed. The destination buyers were treated to: familiarization tours of tourist attractions spread across the country, the nightlife in Kampala City, embedded among conservative cultures and dined on a lot more than Rolex; during the closing ceremony. Uganda hosted 94 hosted buyers, 20 panelists and 200 exhibitors.