private sector players in the tourism sector have vowed to boycott the national
event at which President Yoweri Museveni is due to launch a revival campaign
for Uganda’s tourism.
dubbed Rebranding the Pearl of Africa is aimed at boosting the growth of the
tourism sector which was hit hard for two years due to the covid 19
government agencies, foreign envoys and tourism companies among others, have
been invited to the Friday event at Kololo Independence Grounds.
hospitality, entertainment and education sectors were the most hit by the
measures government instituted to contain the spread of Covid 19, with some locked
tour operators, led by the Uganda Tourism Association says they are boycotting
the events because of what they call government neglect of the private sector
over the two years.
operators say that they have never benefited from any of the government Covid
19 rescue packages that have been given to various sectors of the
Over the two
years, the tour operators have been accusing the Uganda Development Bank of
sidelining tour operators in handling the more than 60 billion shillings from
the government and the European Union aimed at rescuing the sector.
requirements for accessing the money included formalization of the business,
tax returns records and NSSF contributions, among others, which some of the
operators do not have.
They also criticized
the requirement of proof of membership and subscription to the Uganda Hotel
Owners Association and the Association of Uganda Tour Operators.
President of the Uganda Tourism Association, Herbert Byaruhanga says that some
of the government initiatives and decisions by the government seem to be
targeted at competing with the private sector.
Cue out: …marketing."//
operators were also disappointed when they were not invited to participate in
the 5th Growth Forum held in Kampala earlier this month, which they call a
fundamental event where they were ignored.
also says they are also disappointed that they have not been consulted in the
design of the rebranding project, yet they are the ones who are the main
implementers of the programs.
//Cue in: “Therefore it ….
Cue out: …the process.”//
Some of them
say the program might be another waste of resources on something not
well-thought-out like previous campaigns.
One of the
most criticized campaigns was the “Gifted by Nature”, which was featured on
international media through paid adverts on TV among others.
Mpanga, the proprietor of Nkuringo Safaris, says they could save billions of
shillings if the government knew how to develop campaigns and partnerships instead
of working alone or hiring international consultants.
//Cue in: “Uganda as….
Cue out: ….for roads.”//
Tourism Board has, however, called these claims false and inaccurate. In a
response statement to the allegations and concerns raised by the UTA, UTB, for
example, says that the consultations were held in August last year all known
associations in the sector were invited and six meetings were held.
UTB says UTA
was represented by then-President Pearl Hoareau Kakooza, and the Chief Executive
Officer, Richard Kawere, Chief Executive Officer, UTA Byaruhanga was elected
President in October.
that even when drafting the “Destination Uganda” Campaign in 2020, wide consultations
were made and UTA Chief Executive nominated Dennis Ntege, the Director Raft
Uganda to represent them.
statement also dismisses as untrue, allegations that the operators were
sidelined in the covid-19 relief programs. They say even the "Pearl of Africa
Rebranding” is part of efforts to lift the private sector in tourism out of the
distress they are in.
rebranding process is just starting and we pledge to continue working with
everybody to ensure the intended benefits of the rebranding and all the other
planned interventions do reach every stakeholder”, the statement says.