Uganda has rolled out an aggressive tourism campaign targeting the African continent to the point of dedicating this year’s annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo to the continent, under the theme “Promoting intra-African Travel.”
Uganda Tourism Board chief executive officer Lilly Ajarova told the media in Kampala, that the expo seeks to penetrate further into the African market, while consolidating the already existing outlets.
“Africa is one of the fastest growing tourism markets just behind Asia and this market is what we are positioning ourselves to tap into,” Ms Ajarova said.
The expo which runs February 4 to 6 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in Kampala has attracted has attracted over 57 tour operators and journalists drawn from Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Botswana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; and from the emerging markets of Thailand, Philippines, Russia, and Malaysia who are set to go on a countrywide tour to sell “Destination Uganda”.
The UTB has identified Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria as its key regional and African tourist sources.
In Africa, Kenya accounted for the biggest percentage of regional tourists to Uganda at 29% of the total 1.5 million arrivals in 2018.
Rwanda came second at 26% while Tanzania was third at 7%.
With an estimated market of over 433 million people, East African countries hope to land more visitors from the region.
Kenya has branded itself as beach and safari country, Tanzania for adventure at Kilimanjaro and island tourism in Zanzibar; Rwanda is the hub of gorilla trekking, while Uganda offers a cocktail of attractions.
In 2019, Uganda's Ministry of Tourism added curvy and sexy Ugandan women to its list of tourism products to attract foreigners.