At least 180 delegates and 20 exhibitors are expected to attend the first ever Coffee and Tourism Symposium and Exposition which seeks to engage stakeholders on how to position Uganda as a top exporter for premium coffee.
The inaugural Coffee and Tourism Symposium and Exposition is slated to take place on December 6 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala.
Government is organizing the symposium through the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the Uganda Local Government Association.
Themed on “Unlocking Uganda’s Coffee Tourism Potential”, this conference and exhibition will bring together key stakeholders in the coffee and tourism subsectors to deliberate on how the gains and potential in both subsectors can be enhanced.
Organizers say the discussion will involve tour operators, coffee farmers, hoteliers and others involved in the hospitality and coffee industry.
It will provide an opportunity for these stakeholders to meet, establish business relationships, and discuss coffee tourism opportunities and ways to improve business.
In its coffee roadmap, government is looking to accelerate coffee exports from the current 4.6 million (60kg) bags per year to 20 million (60 kg) bags by 2025.
However, while the country is considered a major coffee supplier on the world stage, Uganda’s coffee does not feature in the world’s 15 top value earning coffee exporting countries.
“Uganda Coffee Development Authority is determined to move Uganda’s position from just a top African producer to a top global exporter of premium coffee,” says, Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director of UCDA.
He said that partnering with the players within the tourism sector is one way of achieving this target sooner.
Joan Kantu Else, the chief executive of Coffee Tourism Uganda explained that tourism and coffee are the biggest contributors to Uganda’s GDP and that the symposium is premised on this economic significance of the two products.
Renowned coffee and tourism expert, Mr Glenn Jampol, the President and co-owner of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort and a renowned international sustainable tourism expert from Costa Rica and Ms Judy Kepher-Gona, a travel and tourism expert from Kenya will be key speakers at the symposium.
Coffee Tourism involves linking coffee farmers to consumers under a farm-to-cup approach, with consumers touring farms and sharing their experience with the farmers.
Government believes that feedback from the tourists aids in increased production of high quality coffee and hence boosts returns.
Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO, Uganda Tourism Board says that bringing consumers to the farms and ensuring they have all the amenities they need in terms of transport, accommodation and on-farm experiences will also encourage incremental earnings as farmers and those in the hospitality and tourism industries gain prominence due to global exposure.
The Coffee and Tourism Symposium will become an annual event, Asiimwe revealed.