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Tour Operators Impressed by Preparations at Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo 2024 :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Tour Operators Impressed by Preparations at Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo 2024

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Isa Kato, the Marketing Manager of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), highlighted that the event has met most of his expectations. Unlike previous editions where preparations felt rushed, this year’s expo, held at the new convention center in Munyonyo, is regarded as a national treasure that enhances the country’s tourism sector.
25 May 2024 11:39
The Uganda Tourism Board stall

Audio 1

Tour and travel industry operators participating in the 8th edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE 2024) are impressed with the improved level of preparation at this year’s event. The three-day expo, which showcases Uganda’s tourism to the world, has attracted over 5,000 travel traders and 70 buyers, making it the largest edition to date.   

Isa Kato, the Marketing Manager of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), highlighted that the event has met most of his expectations. Unlike previous editions where preparations felt rushed, this year’s expo, held at the new convention center in Munyonyo, is regarded as a national treasure that enhances the country’s tourism sector.   

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Kato also pointed out the need for the expo to attract more local participants. “We attend many expos in Europe, the US, and Africa, and we see things we wish for our country. Our criticisms should be taken in good faith. For example, charging entry fees may deter some Ugandans from attending. Let’s focus on the bigger picture rather than the small amount collected at the gate,” he suggested.  

Fifi Rurangwa, the East Africa Business Development Manager for Wakanow, echoed similar sentiments, noting that the expo has significantly impacted the East African tourism industry. She emphasized the importance of early advertisement to ensure better preparation and popularization of the event. 

“By the time POATE 2024 ends, planning for POATE 2025 should begin immediately. Consistency in dates will ease preparation and strengthen the event’s reputation,” Rurangwa stated.   Rurangwa also urged industry stakeholders to take ownership of the event rather than relying solely on the government and the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). 

She suggested that the operators drive the event to enhance their business advantage and ensure continuous quality improvements. "When stakeholders own the event, they will collectively promote destination Uganda. For example, some airlines and hotels were missing, which limited networking opportunities," she observed.   

Rurangwa mentioned the importance of showcasing specific attractions and stakeholders, such as those promoting the Martyrs' Day events, to ensure comprehensive representation at the expo. "I wanted to see the church representatives here to discuss promoting Namugongo, but they were absent. Such key participants should be present to maximize the expo’s potential," she added.  

Overall, the feedback from participants at POATE 2024 underscores the need for ongoing improvements and greater involvement from all tourism industry stakeholders to continue enhancing Uganda’s tourism showcase.