In an opulent ceremony at Mestil Hotel in Kampala, the unfolding narrative of Uganda’s tourism took center stage yesterday, as Pearl Hoareau Kakooza assumed the mantle of the chairperson of the fifth Uganda Tourism Board of Directors.
The anticipation was palpable as the spotlight casted a glow on a meticulously selected ensemble of board members, promising not just a leadership change but a revolution in the realm of tourism management.
The stellar cast read like a symphony of expertise, with Olive Lumonye from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, Sandra Kebirungi from the Ministry of Finance, Vincent Operimo from the National Planning Authority, and Stephen Masaba from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The stage was further adorned by Vivian Lyazi (Ministry of Tourism), Margaret Ojara (NACCAU), Tonny Mulinde (tour operators), Rashid Kiyimba (hoteliers), and Ronald Kawamara Kazooba representing the expansive spectrum of tourism. In a dual role, Lily Ajarova graced the ensemble as an ex-officio member and the secretary to the board.
As the curtain rises on this new era, Pearl Kakooza took the stage with a resounding call for her esteemed colleagues to elevate national interests above personal pursuits.
The air was thick with determination as she outlined an ambitious mission — to build upon the laurels of the previous board and, above all, to increase visitor numbers.
Against the backdrop of Uganda’s recent hosting of the NAM and G77 plus China summits, Kakooza rallied her fellow board members to seize this golden opportunity to showcase Uganda as the undisputed crown jewel of visitor destinations.
“We must improve on what the previous board has achieved. Our tasks have been spelt out in the board charter but most importantly to increase the visitor numbers. We are coming in when a red carpet has been rolled out for us because Uganda hosted the NAM and G77 plus China summits. We must build on these to promote our country as a visitor destination,” Kakooza remarked.
Minister for Tourism, Tom Butime, graced the occasion with his visionary insights, lauding the incoming board for their expertise and commitment to advancing Uganda’s tourism industry.
His words resonated with a call to build upon the legacy of predecessors and position Uganda as the world’s paramount tourist destination.
The dynamic Lily Ajarova, CEO of UTB, added her melodic voice to the symphony of aspirations, urging the new board to champion sustainable tourism and maintain Uganda’s top position as a visitor destination.
In a poetic appeal, she spoke of working tirelessly to ensure Uganda remains a beacon for travelers seeking authentic experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality.
“Let us remain steadfast in our commitment to promoting sustainable tourism practices , preserving our natural and cultural heritage and fostering collaboration and inclusivity in the tourism sector. We must work tirelessly to ensure Uganda remains a destination of choice for travelers who are seeking authenticity experiences, breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality,” Ajarova said.
As the ceremony unfolded, a detailed retrospective of the challenges and triumphs of the outgoing board reveals the significant strides made in enhancing Uganda’s global tourism appeal. Hon. Butime acknowledged their dedication in preserving natural and cultural heritage, driving sustainable tourism development, and positioning Uganda as a must-explore destination worldwide.
The outgoing Chairman, Hon. Daudi Migereko, passed the torch with a heartfelt call for the new board to work tirelessly, especially in nurturing domestic tourism and fostering collaborations that spur growth in the tourism sector.
In her acceptance speech, the charismatic Pearl Kakooza expressed gratitude for the foundation laid by the outgoing board and pledged to continue efforts to market Uganda as a destination worth exploring.
The spirit of continuity and progress echoed in the sentiments of UTB CEO Lily Ajarova, who welcomed the new board with a commitment to collaboration, innovation, and unlocking the full potential of Uganda’s tourism sector.
With the baton now passed, the new board, set to serve for three years, stands at the threshold of a promising journey.
United by a shared vision, this ensemble of tourism maestros is poised to elevate Uganda’s tourism profile, attract more visitors, and usher in lasting socio-economic benefits for the people of Uganda.
The stage is set, and the spotlight is on Uganda as it steps into a new chapter of tourism brilliance, poised for an odyssey like never before.
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