Uganda blessed by nature, homes half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. On Saturday 26th September 2009, the Ministry of Tourism together with the Uganda Wildlife Authority launched a tourism marketing campaign that was projected to throw the presently struggling sector to the path of competitiveness. This was the first ever campaign.
“Friend A Gorilla”, is the campaign, mainly focusing on online tourism marketing for Uganda’s mountain gorillas and other tourism related activities through internet social networks including Face book and Twitter. www.friendgorilla.org is yet to be the established website for this campaign. All the social network subscribers will have the opportunity to track local tourism sector events online, a development UWA recently said was a shift from the use of brochures to modern technology in marketing the country’s tourism potential.
State Minister for Tourism Serapio Rukundo in a recent statement said the initiative would help raise funds that would intern be used in implementing wildlife conservation enterprises. “I wish to congratulate UWA for coming up with such an innovative strategy for fundraising and marketing Uganda as a gorilla tourism destination,” the minister said.
“The Ministry of Tourism is supportive of new and modern ways of marketing and our future strategy will be to provide funding for this.” he continued to say.
According to UWA the project is expected to raise more than $100 million (approximately Shs220 billion) – which would be used in implementing conservation programmes of the wildlife conservation body.
The programme will offer the tourism sector an opportunity to take advantage of the currently growing Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry to transition to international levels. Although the initiative has been given a nod locally, the achievements of the campaign may be realized in the long-run given the still low levels of internet connectivity both locally, regionally and in Africa.
Africa, the second most populated continent has got the least numbers of internet users and some analysts say the low numbers could bar majority Africans in supporting such online campaigns.
The launch comes in the wake of a revelation by Uganda Bureau of Statistics that the tourism industry was picking up after a slow in the last two years. Quarterly tourist arrival figures indicated the sector had registered a 29.7 percent growth.
The re-known international celebrities and Hollywood actors including Jason Biggs, Simon Curtis, Nicholas Brendon, Kristy Wu and Eddie Kay were in the country to flag-off the drive in an event expected to be presided over by Uganda’s President Museveni.It was however, difficult to ascertain whether the president would officiate at the event since he was still in the United States (New York) attending the United Nations annual General Assembly.
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