On Tuesday, the fifth edition for the Pearl Of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) organised by Uganda Tourism Board and sister Government Agencies, a gathering of international, regional and domestic players in the tourism value chain opened up and brought together Exhibitors, hosted buyers, international and local media, tour operators, hoteliers, crafts people, traditional dance troupers among other key stakeholders in the tourism and travel fraternity at Speke Resort Munyonyo in a three days Tourism Expo.
The Expo well positioned at the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater with cool breeze, ran under three main pillars; Discover, Showcase and Connect destination Uganda despite the fact that Uganda is arguably the unbeatable number one tourism destination both in Africa and the entire world.
While addressing guests and delegates at Speke Resort Munyonyo, UTB Chairman, Hon. Daudi Migereko tasked to the question that; How do we take advantage of our excellent weather, peace and tranquility to market and share with the world our unique and diverse tourism attractions? The answer lies in discerning, articulating and amplifying the opportunities that Uganda presents for everybody attending this POATE 2020- and going back to market the same.
He further added that, ‘’The key question on our minds today should be how we take advantage of our excellent weather, peace and tranquility so that we are in position to market the unique and diverse tourism attractions that this country has to offer as organizing this expo is an opportunity to interact and bring in more business for our hotels’’.
Hon. Daudi Migereko further said that, ’What you have found on the ground through Fam trips and the growing tourism figures show that Uganda is arguably the most well-endowed country in Africa and possibly the world. For example, compared to our neighbors, although Uganda is only 25% of Tanzania’s land area; 2.4 times smaller than Kenya, and 9.7 times smaller than DRC, we do possess 39% of Africa’s Mammal Richness (7% of the Global Mammal Diversity) and this includes: 19 species of primates- amongst which is the mountain gorillas out of which 53.9% of the World’s remaining population of mountain gorillas is resident in Uganda.
Added to the above, 11% of the world’s recorded species of birds or half of Africa’s bird species, 19% of Africa’s amphibian species richness, 14% of Africa’s reptile species richness and 40 recorded species of butterflies are all resident in Uganda. Uganda is also home to the Source of the mighty River Nile and its magnificent features; 11,000 square miles of Lake Victoria with beautiful beaches and green islands as well as the Rwenzori Mountains, a UNESCO world Heritage site’’ he concluded
Tourism Statistics in Uganda
Over the last five years, visitor numbers (arrivals) have grown by 19% from 1.27 million to 1.5 million- on average by 4% every year. The number of leisure visitors- which is the real measure of tourism has grown twice faster- by 38% from 220,219 visitors in FY2014/15 to 301,134 in FY2018/19- a compounded annual growth rate of 6%.
Forex earnings from the visitors grew by 22% from USD1.31 billion to USD1.6 billion in the same period- an average growth of 4% per year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.
According to Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) average hotel occupancy for Kampala and Entebbe hotels, stood at 58% in 2018. It has however, been established by UHOA that on average, an occupancy rate of 40% would enable a hotel in Uganda to break even. Indeed, investment in the hospitality sector is welcome and will give you positive returns.