President Yoweri Museveni today handed over marketing contracts to Tim Henshall, the managing director of Kamageo and Hanna Kleber, the CEO/managing director of KPRN at State House Entebbe.
Three marketing firms PHG for North America, Kamageo for UK and Ireland, and KPRN for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, are to represent Uganda in the respective travel markets at a total cost of US$1.5million for a year.
These firms were chosen after an international competitive bidding process managed and funded by the World Bank through the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP), coordinated by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU). The project will support the Government of Uganda in promoting tourism products and services to our key source markets of North America (USA and Canada), UK and Ireland; and Germany speaking Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland).
President Yoweri Museveni has welcomed the strategy to promote Uganda through market representation in the major source markets.
“Uganda is easy to market. We are an all year round destination with great weather, variety of tourism attractions including mountains with snow all through the year,” Museveni told Hannah Kleber of KPRN and Tim Henshall of Kamageo at the launch at State House in Entebbe. He urged the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to move quickly to upgrade the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI) in Jinja to be better placed to provide quality and skilled labour for the sector.
“Get good trainers for the tourism school in Jinja. Don’t recycle your old trainers—the world has changed and we need new skills,” Museveni said. “Ensure that we get a partner with a record of quality hospitality training to ensure that we have a good foundation.”
UTB Board Chairman, James Tumusiime, says the three firms will not only promote Uganda as a tourism destination, but also support the Uganda’s foreign missions in doing so.
“Destination marketing is a very complicated thing. In Uganda, tourism is now our top export and quickly becoming a major employer. Globally, tourism is among the top businesses; all countries are fighting for a share of these visitor numbers. These agencies the President has commissioned will be our ears, eyes and mouthpieces in each of these markets,” Tumusiime says.
Currently, Uganda’s representation has mainly been through trade exhibitions like the WTM London, ITB Berlin and Indaba. However, UTB CEO Stephen Asiimwe says it is too expensive to simply go for one expo only to return after a year. The firms will ensure that destination knowledge and recognition is continuously through trade, media and other engagement.
“They will represent Uganda at different fora. It would be very expensive for us as a nation to know and attend all exhibitions that take place in these markets. Since these are specialized companies with core competencies in these markets, they will be representing us,” Asiimwe says.
The overall objective of the assignment is to leverage Uganda as a prime tourism travel destination and increase tourism arrivals, overall spend and length of stay in the country. Beyond the promotion and growth of tourism numbers, the CEDP project also seeks to build local tourism sector capacity to make the individual companies better players on the international market. Kamageo, KPRN and PHG will also provide training to the Uganda tourism businesses.