Uganda’s tourism industry overcame a major visa ‘scandal’ to win Gold in the Southern African Development Community and Africa category at the Africa Travels Indaba, Tourism Fair.
This is the third time that Uganda has been recognised by Indaba, the third most important tourism exhibition in the world after Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB-Berlin) and World Travel Market (WTM) in London, having previously emerged top in 2015 and 2016.
Uganda has also previously emerged among the best exhibitors at tourism expos such as ITB Berlin, the Bird Fair in London, UK in 2017 and the Kenya Tourism expo, among others.
Early this week, Amos Wekesa, a renowned tourism enthusiast called for the boycott of South African goods after South Africa denied Ugandan tour operators visas to take part in the fair.
“The tour operators have already paid for accommodation, transport and exhibition fees to South African organizers. Its economic sabotage by South Africa who are happily reaping from us Ugandans. They repatriate so much money from our economy back to their country,” he posted on facebook.
Less than 24 hours after his post had gone viral, several operators were granted Visas and flew out to Durban, South Africa to represent the Pearl of Africa at the fair whose theme is, ‘Be Part of the great African Story and write your success.’
They included 13 private tour operators and government agencies led by officials from Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).
Some of the government agencies attending the 2019 event include; Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Civil Aviation Authority.
Private tour operators include; Bantu Africa Travel, Parkview Safaris and Lodges, Speke Uganda Holidays, Nkuringo Safaris Ltd, Asyanut Safaris and Incentives, Uganda Safari Chapter, Abacus African Vacations, East African Vacations, and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Chimpanzee Trust.
According to Lilly Ajarova, the UTB Chief Executive Officer, the latest win shows that Uganda is now positioning itself to take its rightful place as a leading tourist destination in Africa and the world.
“We put a lot of work into our exhibition stall to ensure that it captures all elements of tourism in our country; that is wildlife and cultural heritage, whilst also ensuring that the spacing would enable close interaction with our visitors,” she explained.
“We are elated to have won gold as the best exhibitor at this year’s Indaba fair. This is true testament to Uganda’s immense natural endowment and also shows that the world is appreciating our tourism potential. This therefore calls for concerted efforts to market our country to the world because we offer the most complete tourist experience.”
Uganda’s stands have always had increased activity at many of the global expos in which it takes part and received accolades for its creative showcase and engagement.
The fair concludes on Saturday, May 4.