Uganda is showcasing its tourism potential at a global expo in the German capital Berlin.
About 30 Ugandan tourism businesses and Government agencies are taking part in the world’s largest tourism trade fair, the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin(ITB 2017). It started on March 8, and concludes on Sunday.
Uganda Tourism Board(UTB), is host and main organiser of the Uganda stand at the expo. Uganda is also exhibiting alongside its northern corridor and East African neighbours Rwanda and Kenya, under the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee (JTMC) of the two countries.
Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities minister Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, and ministry Permanent Secretary Doreen Silver Katusiime, are leading Team Uganda.
According to a press statement from UTB, the entities exhibiting include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies.
UTB says this is the largest contingent of Ugandan businesses ever to attend ITB Tourismus-Börse Berlin.
UTB chief executive officer Stephen Asiimwe, says a series of meeting are ongoing to elaborate on Uganda’s tourism potential
“While at the show, heads of businesses and government are meeting and transacting business (B2B) with international counterparts,” Asiimwe says.
Adding: “More meetings have been scheduled by KPRN, the public relations firm hired by Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to represent Uganda in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.”
The double-deck Uganda stand, is complete with meals, wifi and evening entertainment by Ugandan Europe-based dance troupe Bantu Arts
UTB Marketing Manager Edwin Muzahura, says the stand has been very busy with many Uganda companies signing off deals and getting new enquiries.
“This year has been very successful, thanks to KPRN, the Embassy and our persistent engagement with the market here,” he said.
According to a survey carried out by UTB and KPRN, European tour operators reported a booking increase for packages to Uganda in 2016 and expect a continuous rise for 2017.
The Pearl of Africa, is renowned especially for its mountain gorillas, big five wild game, Africa’s top birding haven, among others.
A survey of tour operators selling Uganda in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has shown a growing demand for trips to Uganda.
“Last year, we saw significant growth rates for Uganda. 2017/18 is somewhat quieter, but we are confident that demand will level off at a high level, “said Lars Eichapfel, head of the Africa product at DIAMIR Erlebnisreisen.
According to Habari Travel, 20 years in the Uganda business and one of the dedicated specialists, the demand in 2016 was particularly large.
And in Austria as well, the development is consistently positive: “We have been able to achieve significant bookings for Uganda and the product enjoys untamed demand. Over the next two years, we are aiming to grow by 30% per year, “said Mirko Lukic, Managing Director of Best 4 Travel.
Since May 2016, UTB has been on a comprehensive media campaign and has opened offices in Germany, Great Britain and the America.
The goal is to position the Pearl of Africa on the international tourism marketplace as a safe and diverse safari and wildlife destination alongside established destinations in Africa.
The marketing initiative is already bearing fruit. In addition to the African specialists who have been selling Uganda for many years, new operators have added Uganda to their portfolio, including FTI Tourism, Art of Travel, Time Travel, EWTC, Globetrotter Select and Africa Dream Travel.
Marco Stahl of Habari Travel sums it up: “The diversity with which many countries are bragging, Uganda really has it”.