The Uganda Tourism Board – UTB – has today launched a campaign that will see 16 lucky Ugandans win fully paid trips travel to various destinations across the country.
Dubbed ‘Take on the Pearl,’ the campaign is also aimed ‘at showcasing the amazing places Uganda has to offer’ as well as boost domestic tourism.
According to UTB Chief Executive Officer Lilly Ajarova, the campaign was suggested by tourism enthusiasts who, unfortunately do not have the required information about where to go or which places to visit.
“Many Ugandans want to travel but unfortunately have zero information about the amazing places we have in this country. With the ‘Take on The Pearl campaign’, we shall give you the information (about places to visit, transport, accommodation) so that you make your own decisions,” Ajarova said during the virtual launch of the campaign, organised in conjunction with various tourism partners such as Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) as well as the Ministry of Tourism, on Friday.
For the next eight weeks starting on September 18, UTB will pick two weekly winners to travel to different parts of the country after correctly answering questions posted on the ‘Visit Uganda’ social media handles.
The simple questions, Ajarova said, will mainly be about photos around a particular tourism destination such as ‘what do you know about place A?’.
The campaign runs up til November 8 and will also feature various celebrities including Crystal Newman, Natasha Sinayobe and Alex Muhangi.
According to Doreen Katusiime, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, the Covid pandemic has presented lots of challenges such as restrictions on travel,
“But with every challenge, there are opportunities. What we get from this challenge is that this is the time for Ugandans to travel in their own country and enjoy the best of everything – natural environment, food, culture, hospitality,” she said.
“It is possible for one to be born, raised, get married and even work in the same place but that should change because people need to see what the other areas have to offer.”
Katusiime said Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as issued by the Ministry of Health will be implemented.
“This disease is real. If you are going to travel as group, we have issued SOPs for hotels, tourist vehicles, the national parks – especially those with primates – you will be visiting that will need to be observed because you will not only be endangering yourselves but also the animals. This is the time for every Ugandan to visit the Pearl.
And although Ugandans have been complaining about affordability, different establishments have come up with special packages that locals can take advantage of before destinations become over crowded, according to UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandha.
“In parks where we manage accommodation such as Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley national parks, local tourists will pay between Shs30,000 to Shs70,000in QENP and Kidepo. If you stay for three days, you will only be required to pay for two days because the extra day is free. On top of all this, we shall follow the Ministry of Health guidelines such as measuring temperature, washing hands, ensure social distancing. Uganda is special and you need to utilize this time when you cannot fly out to visit your country,” he advised.
Game drives will cost only Shs20,000 per person during the campaign, in what Amos Wekesa. Uganda Lodges boss called ‘a good initiative.’
“No country will succeed without domestic tourism because when you move around your own country you redistribute resources. Before you spend money in Dubai or South Africa spend it in Uganda.”
Ajarova also clarified that while there are other domestic tour campaigns such as Tulambule, Take on the Pearl is seasonal.
“We encourage all Ugandans to participate in this campaign and travel this country to see what we have to offer,” she added she added
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