Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has Thursday signed a partnership with Uganda’s football governing body, FUFA to promote sports tourism.
The partnership with Uganda Cranes through FUFA among others, gives the government tourism agency rights to brand Destination Uganda at local and international games in which team Uganda is participating.
UTB will as well as work with the Uganda Cranes players in destination marketing campaigns- given the local, regional and international appeal of soccer, is a double bottom-line opportunity.
The partnership was signed by UTB chief executive, Lilly Ajarova and the FUFA Vice President.
Across the world, trends reveal that sports fans are keen travellers and with sports events taking place all over the globe, the synergies between sport and travel are clear for all to see.
It has also become a common trend for countries through their tourism agencies to market themselves using football entities or events.
For destinations, it is no longer just about hosting major events; governments and tourism authorities now understand the power of sport and the effectiveness of sponsorship as a marketing tool to enhance the economy, image and quality of life for their residents.
Their sport tourism and wider commercial strategies must now include strategic alliances and a calendar of events that keep visitors coming back year after year.
When used intelligently, sport can be an incredible platform for brands and tourism destinations to showcase themselves and to communicate key messages to a global audience, according to GMR Marketing, a U.S engagement marketing advertising agency.
However, it is not simply enough to sign a deal with a rights holder and to rely on the brand exposure generated.
GMR says most successful partnerships are those that use creative activations in collaboration with the rights holder. This is premised on the idea that people retain about 20% of what they read and hear, 40% of what they observe and a full 90% of what they experience.
For Uganda, there is great potential, both on the aspect of football (Uganda Cranes) and tourism (as a destination). The national football team is due to participate in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 kicking off Friday in Egypt. It has as well won several trophies during the EAC regional football tournament, CECAFA.
Tourism is Uganda’s highest foreign exchange earner and the country boasts of diversity be it in culture, food, wildlife and other natural attractions.