The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has unveiled plans to aggressively market Uganda as the safest destination to visit after the COVID-19 but also re-brand destination Uganda.
UTB Chief Executive Officer Lilly Ajarova said that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the world tourism sector back to the same level and that it is important for Uganda to position itself to hit the market. Ajarova says that UTB’s first move will be to market Uganda as the safest destination to visit after COVID-19 while taking advantage of the way Uganda has handled the virus.
She says that the fact that western media has hailed Uganda as a country for taking leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be ignored. Ajarova was appearing before the National Economy Committee of Parliament to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
Ajarova says that after COVID-19, many tourists will be looking at cooling off and visiting beautiful places across the world and adds that although Uganda ranks highly as a tourist destination, its marketing was inadequate. The marketing strategy will now require an investment of 189 billion Shillings every year for the next three years to enable Uganda to take tourism to another level.
According to Ajarova, the investment needs to be commensurate to the proposal of selling Uganda to the world.
She also commented on the loss incurred in the tourism sector due to the lockdown which has now taken three months. According to Ajarova, by March, Uganda lodges received 2,500 cancellations and made refunds to those that had booked.
She cites for instance that the top hotels like Serena-Kigo and Serena Kampala had cancellations worth 5.2 billion Shillings while Sheraton Kampala Hotel reported a loss of 2.6 billion Shillings for only April and March. Ajarova says the Association of Tour Operators are poised to lose 170 billion Shillings for this year with over 19,000 trips cancelled and lost.
MPs have called on UTB to brand and market Ugandan food and culture, birds and animals.