Uganda is set to take part in the highly acclaimed tourism exhibition, ITB Berlin in Germany, in a bid to showcase the tourism products that the country has to offer.
A delegation comprising over 30 Uganda tour operators, led by the State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda and UTB officials set off for Germany on Monday to attend the Expo. The delegation attending the expo also includes Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) CEO- Lilly Ajarova, UTB Board Member- Yogi Birigwa, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Executive Director Sam Mwandha, UTB Marketing Manager and the UTB Marketing Officer in charge on European market.
Minister for Tourism, Prof Ephraim Kamumtu will join the team on the last day as he proceeds to Hungary for another meeting on product development.
The annual showcase is scheduled to take place between March 6 and 9 at the Messe in Berlin. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show for every international expert in the tourism industry.
Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer, UTB explained that the expo is a huge opportunity for Uganda tour operators to attract new business given the high profile as well as large number of participants that grace the event every year.
“ITB is without a doubt of invaluable importance to Uganda given that Germany is one of our top source markets,” Ajarova said in a statement.
“We believe that at this expo, our tour operators will be able to get bookings as well as get connections to new markets. Exhibitor satisfaction at ITB over the years has stood at over 90%, which is a sign of effective delivery on business,” she added.
According to Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda’s stall at the expo “will yet again be a star attraction given its impressive showing at the two previous editions”.
The country was voted 5th best exhibitor out of over 800 participants in the African category at the annual showcase in the 2017 and 2018 expos.
This is a position Ajarova hopes the country will better this year given the preparations tour operators and the marketing board have undertaken.
The ITB Berlin Tourism Expo is one of the world’s four major international tourism gatherings and one of the most important to Uganda’s tourism sector given that Germany, the host country, comes third as a source market for tourists in Uganda annually.
According to ITB, more than 109,000 trade visitors and potential travelers seeking business opportunities as well as inspiration for their next trip visited last year’s expo. That number is expected to increase this year.
This expo is where companies and organizations meet, as well as top decision-makers, experts, buyers and young professionals from every touristic area: Hotels, tourism organizations, tour operators, travel agencies, transport companies, booking portals, systems providers and all others.
Tourism is currently Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner, bringing in in excess of US$ 1.45 billion (which is 23.5% of the total exports) annually.