As part of the ongoing work by the East African Community to come up with the final East African Marketing strategy, Uganda Tourism Board has engaged a number of stakeholders and players in the tourism sector.
The meeting held Tuesday at Protea hotel in Kampala sought to pool ideas especially from the Ugandan tourism industry, that will be incorporated in the final draft of the strategy.
It follows a call by the EAC member states to ensure that all countries are given a chance to review the document before it goes to the council meeting scheduled for next week on Wednesday.
UTB Chief Executive Officer, Lilly Ajarova, said the stakeholder consultative meeting for the EAC tourism strategy is the final consultation for the strategy in Uganda and that a lot of input has been made by the different stake holders.
“Tourism is a government led yet private sector driven industry, we need your commitment as the private sector and all stake holders, and we require that we get impact from you,” Ajarova said.
“At the EAC council meeting level, it is government that makes the representation, but we need feedback from the private sector because you are the biggest and immediate consumers of this strategy,” she added.
She asked that the private sector helps government in as far as direction is concerned, by offering feedback on areas that require improvement.
“This is a good strategy and we are happy with it as a country, we commit to the implementation of it once it is approved, the commitment is not just at government level, it cuts across to stake holder level,” she said.
She also revealed that UTB will soon be launching a forum were stakeholders will be engaged on a regular basis, to get ideas, make improvements where there is need to be innovative and strategic.
With such a forum, she said, there will be no need to wait for bigger meetings in order to engage all parties involved in the tourism sector.
Jim Ayorekire, a consultant with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, noted that the consultative meeting was aimed at positioning Uganda as a tourism destination and collecting views of the local tourism stakeholders.
He said the East African Marketing Strategy gives a background and a situational analysis of the tourism trends and issues affecting tourism marketing in the region as a basis for providing the strategic direction and proposing priority actions to be implemented within the period 2019/20 – 2023/24.
“The Strategy proposes to achieve a number of objectives in regard to promotion of tourism to and within the community” he added.
One of the participants cautioned the various agents present and UTB to undertake sufficient ground work in order to understand their target audience, citing the need to know for who this project is being developed for, looking at the source marketing besides the need for countries to still continue using their inhouse marketing strategies.
The East African Tourism Marketing Strategy provides an implementation, monitoring and evaluation framework that will help in tracking performance and also measure success which will be in accordance with the EAC implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and will also undergo a midterm review and end of implementation period evaluation.
It is anticipated that innovative funding mechanisms will be explored to mobilise resources necessary for effective implementation of the strategy.
EAC recognizes the significance of the tourism sector to the national economies of its Partner States. The sector contributes an average of about 10 percent to GDP, 20 percent to foreign exchange earnings and about 8.3 percent to employment.