By Ben Ssebuguzi
It is disturbing to learn that Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) a governing agency mandated to promote tourism locally and abroad will not be at Munyonyo Speke Resort on Saturday 21 October,2019 for the Ascot Goat Races.
The animal event which started in 1993 courtesy of the Ruparelia Group is another very important tourism activity which needs to be included on the UTB annual calendar because it defines our culture as Ugandans.
It is a unique sport compared to other traditional athletics whereby if promoted by all tourism stakeholders, it can attract the attention of international media houses like CNN under their good programs like inside Africa, which in some way or the other would be popularizing Uganda’s existing tourism opportunities. This will increase our revenue as a country as well as creating jobs for our youth.
Tourists are swayed by a series of advertisements on TV or popular websites to visit among others Eiffel Tower or London for their next vacation of which we might not have enough financial muscle to do so and the only option is to use the non-traditional methods of climbing on the Ascots goats race to sell our country internationally at a cheap cost in line with the National marketing campaign plan of increasing tourists entering Uganda from 1.3 million now, to four million visitors by 2020 as per UTB goal.
Government efforts of spending on just visitors-related infrastructure like roads is highly appreciated plus offering security in tourist attraction centres, but this should not give us a sense of satisfaction and pride, we need to appreciate other avenues to market Uganda.
According to world statistics, total government spending on tourism is expected to rise to Shs413 billion this year according to world travel and tourism council.
Nevertheless, World Bank states that tourism contributes 9.9% of our GDP and it makes about 26% of our foreign exchange earnings hence calling for an aggressive and robust marketing strategy to increase the figures in order to increase our foreign resources and also reduce on our trade deficit.
The marketing of tourism pays off; the visit Denmark campaign reported a return of $16 million in revenue for each dollar spent.
In a nutshell, UTB should wake up and support all interventions of marketing Uganda tourism in order for us to be able to increase our current earnings of $1.4 billion.
Ssebuguzi is the Secretary General of Uganda Poor Youth Movement.
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