China Africa Friendship Uganda together with the Embassy of China and Ministry of Tourism have launched the second season of the Dragon Boat Festival.
This was unveiled by Minister of Tourism, Hon Kiwanda Suubi Godfrey yesterday evening at Arirang Restaurant, Kololo during the official media launch.
The event is set to take place on June 16 this year at the Uganda Wild Life Education Centre (UWEC) in Entebbe.
“The dragon Boat Festival is the first of its kind in East Africa and if not in Africa. So, as a country we should use this opportunity to attract more tourists into the country especially our brothers and sister coming in from China,” Kiwanda said.
He said that as Chinese prepare for this biggest festival back home, they are also welcome to be part of a similar event here in Uganda. The Minister encouraged Chinese living in Uganda to invite their families and friends to visit Uganda and see the investment potential of this country.
“Uganda has been ranked in 10th position in the most visited African countries, so you are in the right path and we will ensure to use this opportunity to attain at least 1% of Chinese tourists trekking the world and direct them to Uganda,” Kiwanda said.
Kiwanda likened the Dragon Boat Festival to the local ‘Amaato ga Kabaka’ competition and asked organizers to hold competitions between nationals of the two countries.
He further advised them to consider hosting the festival in the different locations of Uganda in order to open doors for tourists and sponsors to travel and explore other regional endowments.
“Imagine if we hosted such an event at the Kabaka’s lake for example, given its location and history as one of the biggest man-made lake in Africa. I am sure people would flood the venue to come and celebrate with us which would give a boost to domestic tourism”.
Zheng Zhuguiang, the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda said the two countries have maintained very strong bilateral relations.
He said it was imperative for China to invest in people centred activities as a way to keep the country’s economy flourishing through simple but viable activities like the Dragon Boat Festival.
The Ambassador handed over a dummy cheque of Shs 200 million to fund the preparations of the festival.
Dragon Boat Festival is one the biggest events on the Chinese calendar celebrated annually on fresh water bodies. It attracts lots of tourists as well as local participation.
Henry Sekabembe Kiberu, the Minister of Sports in Buganda kingdom who was in attendance welcomed the idea by Minister Kiwanda and promised to discuss it with othet offivials in the kingdom.
“This would be a great opportunity to change and beautify outlook of the Kabaka’s lake, to forge collaborations and promotion of tourism in and beyond,” Kiberu said.