Uganda

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is seeking to partner with Kenyan tour operators to boost intra-Africa tourism between the two East African countries.

The partnership’s main goal is to encourage more Kenyan tourists to visit the neighboring country’s natural, adventure, recreational, business, and cultural attractions.

Given that Kenya is an important market for tourism in East Africa, this will be a fantastic opportunity for Uganda.

With a well-developed travel trade sector and excellent connectivity to the rest of the world, Uganda Travel Trade partners will rely on the move to secure business in the rest of the world.

Over 278 Kenyan operators are scheduled to form commercial partnerships with 35 Ugandan companies.

According to the latest data released by the Tourism Research Institute, last year, Kenya received 870,465 tourists, up from 567,848 in 2020. With 136,981 tourists, the United States was Kenya’s leading source market.

Uganda came in second with 80,067 people, followed by Tanzania with 74,051.
Tourists from the United Kingdom and India accounted for 53,264 and 42,159 visitors, respectively.

Following the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, Kenya’s tourism sector grew by 53.29 percent in 2021. Revenue increased by 34.76 percent to $1.46 billion in 2020, up from $885 million in the previous year.

The majority of visitors (299,802) were vacationers who accounted for 34.44 percent of all arrivals, followed by those visiting family members at 257,357 (29.57 percent).
Business travelers were 229,804, with 46,654 (5.36 percent) on transit.

Some 19,053 visitors (2.19 percent) came to Kenya for education purposes, and one percent for medical reasons.

Before the pandemic, Uganda received over 1.5 million tourists in 2019 and registered
over 512,000 travelers in 2020. However, the country’s tourism industry is poised for
recovery with renewed emphasis on intra-African travel market as a key marketing
strategy. In 2019, the tourism sector contributed 7.7% of Uganda’s GDP and over 667,000 jobs. 58% of the Uganda tourism workforce was composed of women.

Tourism data from 2019 shows the top three African source markets included Rwanda (32%), Kenya (24%) and Tanzania at 6%.

President Yoweri Museveni described the new brand Explore Uganda, Pearl of Africa, as a key strategy to re-imagine Uganda’s tourism sector and position the country as a competitive international travel destination.

While in an interview with the ALM’s East Africa Correspondent, Uganda’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, His Excellency Evans Aryabaha, described the move as a “potent catalyst” for improving bilateral and cultural ties between the two countries.

He made the comments few minutes after attending the launch of a roadshow by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to reposition Uganda as a leading tourism destination in Africa.

He further, added that expanding these services throughout the region will present a win-win situation for the East African Community.

“We came to launch in the Kenyan market because it is a source market.We have great visitors from Kenya who come to Uganda as well as those who come from Uganda to Kenya.And with the East African Community,extending these services as a joint effort for the East African region is a win-Win Situation.What is uniquely ours,is uniquely yours and when we benefit we benefit as a team”…Uganda’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, His Excellency Evans Aryabaha.

On her part, Ms Claire Mugabi, UTB Marketing Manager, said that Kenya is the biggest source market for tourists in Uganda. She also outlined future plans to increase awareness of Uganda as a destination that offers an adventure of a lifetime.

“Our refreshed destination brand identity captures the essence of the Pearl of Africa with its mesmerizing experiences catering to the needs of diverse travellers with its endemic and endangered flora and fauna, pleasant year-round weather, punctuated by uniquescenery,” she added.

Kenya Association of Tour Operators Chair Mr. Fred Odek emphasized the need for joint tourism promotional activities by Kenya and Uganda tourism stakeholders.

“We see a great opportunity for outbound tourism to the East African Community (EAC) countries to get more tourists to Kenya and simultaneously send tourists from Kenya to other countries in the region. Uganda will benefit significantly owing to its geographical proximity and long history of good relations with Kenya,” said Mr. Odek.

Other countries that are also exploring Kenya’s rich tourism culture are the Republic of Tanzania. Through their High Commissioner, Dr John Stephen Simbachawene, the Republic has engaged all stakeholders to foster economic partnership in the spirit of good neighbourliness.

He alluded to the fact that the two countries have a lot in common and therefore Kenya and Tanzania should strive to maintain the existing cordial relations.

Speaking at a function in Kenya’s coastal region last year, the Tanzanian envoy who is now rooting for faster integration of tourism activities in Kenya and Tanzania emphasized that a lot more unites the people of the two countries and which should overrule the differences that had existed for a while as a result of efforts aimed at containing the global Corona Virus Pandemic.