Uganda will host its annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) next month in February with over 100 people expected to exhibit this year.
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) says that the objective of this year’s Expo is to expose Ugandans to the wide variety of tourism attractions in the country.
The expo, fourth one in a row will be held from February 23 to 25 at the Sheraton Kampala Gardens, under the theme “Rediscover the Pearl”.
On Wednesday, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu presided over the POATE media launch at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala, calling on Ugandans to take interest in touring the countries vast beauty.
“Our vision, working with tourism partners, is to grow POATE into one of the most effective tourism networking platforms in the East African region,” said Kamuntu.
“Ugandans are encouraged to visit the expo and see for themselves what travel offers are available especially as we plan for the Easter break.”
Foreign firms will network with the local players and get a chance to understand Uganda’s diverse attractions that their buyers in source markets might be interested in.
The UTB Board Chairman, Daudi Migereko described the expo as “a unique opportunity for Ugandan tourism businesses to meet new suppliers, build and strengthen their networks”.
In a speech read by UTB’s Head of Marketing, Yogi Birigwa, Migereko said that the expo has attracted representation from both Ugandan and international business from the East Africa region, different parts of Africa, North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
“Ugandans have the opportunity to get a glimpse of what tourism products, services and attractions are available in this blessed country. Our call goes out to all Ugandans to come and visit the exhibition,” Migereko said.
Besides the exhibition, there will also be a school’s corner; a children’s play area, an adventure corner with quad bikes and horse rides, and a mini zoo among others.
Participants will include international tourism businesses (hosted buyers) and media personnel who with be taken on familiarization trips across different attractions in the country in the week preceding the expo.
The four regional tourism Boards have also confirmed participation, says Stephen Asiimwe, UTB Chief Executive Officer.
Government believes that with such platforms, the country can further position itself as a leading tourist destination to harness the benefits from a sector that is the biggest foreign exxhange earner.