The Chairman of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), Mr. Kayondo Everest who also runs Ever Based Tours and Travel company has been elected the new Board Chairman of the organ that brings together tour operators in Uganda.
Kayondo was elected during the annual general assembly for the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) held at Mestil Hotel in Nsambya, Kampala, having garnered 87 votes. His challenger, Ms Civy Tumusiime got 80 votes.
AUTO brings together registered and professional tour companies dealing in tourism related activities in Uganda.
In his speech, Kayondo, among other priorities, promised to lobby government on issues of tour operators, to work closely and maintain the good relationship between AUTO and her partners and to instill discipline among the members.
“We will strengthen the disciplinary procedures of the association in line with the code of conduct, lobby government to regulate the sector and further improve professionalism in the sector,” Mr. Kayondo who boasts of over 33 years of experience in the tour and travel business promised.
He pledged to work with his new team to advance the interests of tour operators and to improve the image and the recognition of AUTO by the Government of Uganda.
The new Board Chair will steer AUTO for a period of two years until 2020, and will be deputised by Mr. Benedict Ntale of Ape Treks Ltd.
Mr. Farouk Busuulwa was voted Board Secretary while Mrs. Charlotte Kamugisha of Bunyonyi Safaris will serve as treasurer.
The newly appointed committee includes Mohit Advani of Global Interlink Travel Services Ltd, Mr. Brian Mugume of Adventure Consults Uganda and Mr. Robert Ntale of Cheetah Safaris Uganda.
The outgoing Board Chair, Mrs. Babra A. Vanhelleputte of Asyanut Safaris and Incentives congratulated the new committee and requested them to continue working devotedly with the interests of the Association’s members at the forefront.
She thanked the AUTO Secretariat headed by the CEO Gloria Tumwesigye for organizing a successful AGM and for their unstinted support to the Executive Committee in delivering membership services aptly. She urged the incoming Board to work cooperatively with the Secretariat to advance the vision and goals of the association.
“We leave AUTO with better Structures, Systems and Staffing than what we found at the beginning of our tenure and I request you to build upon those to improve service delivery to the membership and to grow tourism in Uganda at large,” Babra passionately advised the new leadership.
She has served with Jacqueline Kemirembe of Platinum Tours and Travel as Vice Chair, Dennis Ntege of Raft Uganda Adventures as Board Secretary, Costantino Tessarin of Destination Jungle as Treasurer and three committee members namely, Lydia Nandudu of Nkuringo Walking Safaris, Civy Tumusiime of Acacia Safaris and Dona Tindyebwa of Jewel Safaris.
Also present at the meeting were other players in Uganda’s tourism sector including the Ministry of Tourism, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Tourism Police, the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Kampala Capital City Authority.
UTB boss, Mr. Stephen Asiimwe promised to work closely with the newly appointed AUTO leadership to promote tourism in Uganda. He called upon the incoming Executive to work together with the Tourism Board to market and promote Uganda’s tourism products.
Mr. Masaba Stephen, the Director Tourism Development at Uganda Wildlife Authority informed the gathering about government’s plans to work more closely with AUTO in selling of the tourism products especially gorilla tourism and to ensure that tourism services are only consumed through registered tour companies in Uganda.