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More potential tourists from traditional tourist market destinations are inquiring about Uganda as the public relations firms hired to market the country end their year contract at the close of May. Last year, Uganda hired three foreign firms to represent the country in source markets, a strategy that Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is banking on to succeed, given the importance of the sector to the economy as the leading forex earner.

In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, UTB chief executive officer Stephen Asiimwe said: “A lot has been achieved judging from the increased inquiries about Uganda in the traditional markets. To us this is a positive sign that the campaign being done by the PR firms is going to bring results.” He said because of this campaign, Uganda was ranked by CNN as one of the tourism destinations not to miss out in 2017. In the US destination market, Mr Asiimwe said UTB received information from the embassy that inquiries about Uganda by US citizens has doubled from 50 to more than 100 recorded daily. The three firms which signed the contract are PHG Consulting for the North America market, Kamageo for the United Kingdom and Ireland, and KPRN for the German-speaking Europe. Each firm was given a one-year renewable contract and the programme was worth $1.5 million (Shs5.4 billion) funded under the World Bank’s Competiveness and Enterprises Development Project according to information from UTB.

Commenting about this initiative, Mr Amos Wekesa, the chairman of the tourism committee of the Investors’ Round Table, said: “It’s the one most important decision government has made for Uganda’s tourism.”He said the Germany PR firm has marketed Uganda and because of this, the country is seeing more Germans inquiring about Uganda. “The Germany PR firm has been marketing Namibia and South Africa for a long time. After it included Uganda on its list, now more Germans know about Uganda because of the so many media people they have brought,” he shared. He added that Uganda is starting to shine and as lodge owner, he is seeing increased numbers of Germans, and people from United Kingdom. "Uganda is working with three PR companies but Kenya has 18 PR firms which promote tourism, so for us to see a bigger impact we need about three years,” he added.

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

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