Uganda has won Gold as the Best Exhibitor at Africa’s Travel Indaba 2019 expo in South Africa which is closing today, Saturday.
The award was presented to Uganda’s Minister of Tourism, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu by South Africa’ President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Indaba, Africa’s biggest annual tour and travel trade fair opened on Thursday in Durban, South Africa with over 1,000 exhibitors and 1,500 buyers to the event.
Uganda’s win as Best Exhibitor (Gold) is the third at Indaba having won the same recognition in 2015 and 2016.
Sandra Natukunda, the Senior Public Relations Officer at Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) told SoftPower News on Saturday that the recognition is very significant for Uganda since it affirms the long-held perception that Ugandans are hospitable.
“Once you get this recognition, it means you represented your country well. This year, our signature product was culture because of Uganda’s cultural diversity which makes us unique as a country,” Natukunda said.
“This [award] means we have been recognized for this distinction. It puts our name out there for a positive reason. It’s a good PR opportunity for Uganda and now it becomes our job to use it to sell the destination”.
According to Natukunda, the recognition was based on numerous factors including the customer care provided by the persons at the Ugandan stall towards the clients.
“It means that our stall offered the best customer care which speaks a lot to our hospitality. They (organizers) use dummy visitors who come to the stall, do a survey and come up with a report,” the UTB PRO said.
Besides culture, at Indaba, Uganda was also selling its other tourism products such as wildlife, adventure, faith-based tourism among others.
“After Zambia, Uganda has the highest number of waterfalls. So, if we can encourage visitors from South Africa to go beyond Zambia and come to Uganda to see our falls, that will be key,” she said.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicted that 1.8 billion people will be travelling globally by 2030, and that Africa will increase its share from our current 5% to 7% of all global arrivals. This would be 126-million arrivals; almost double the current numbers.