According to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda’s Tourism has 23% increase in the number of Ugandans visiting the parks.
In a span of two years, 29,882 Ugandans toured game reserves, up from 24,381 recorded in 2007 indicating an improvement in local tourism.
UWA attributes the local interest in tourism to good promotional tools and market positioning.
Mid-last year, UWA joined hands with USAID-funded STAR-Uganda on launching the ‘Friend-a-Gorilla’ conservation campaign.
The campaign was well-received locally and internationally that UWA was interchangeably referred to as ‘Friend-a-Gorilla or Makara’; the name tag to a gorilla in a promotional advertisement.
It is against the background of this success that Uganda Wildlife Authority launched projects like the Power FM Western Region Tour and Mt. Elgon Corporate Challenge.
However, the wildlife agency still needs to close some loopholes.
According to Laura Lake, a marketing guide, “branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospective clients to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.”
This brings in non-traditional sites of tourist attraction outside the ambit of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The Buganda Kingdom achieved a lot in packaging the recently burnt Kasubi Tombs as a tourist attraction site.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority, using its corporate might and experience, can tie in with the Uganda Tourism Board and the custodians of historical sites like Mparo Tombs where Omukama Kabalega was laid to rest, the Bigo Byamugenyi Historical Site in Sembabule and Karambi Tombs in Tooro Kingdom.
The truth is that there is little known about these prestigious cultural sites.
But with UWA, the promotion of these sites would still feed into the national brand Uganda campaign.
A combined effort to market the country within and out by government agencies, stakeholders, tour companies, the media, hotel and transport owners, Uganda can truly attain the ‘Pearl of Africa’ status that was bestowed on her by Sir Winston Churchill, the former British Premier.
On a recent visit to Uganda, Australian tourism industry players praised the rich tourism potential but pointed out the lack of facilities to host tourists and good tourism promotional programmes.
The significant increase in domestic tourism is indicative of the changing attitude Ugandans are adopting towards the industry.
Initially, people thought it was too expensive to visit the parks but these figures show that visiting national parks is affordable especially if families and organizations mobilize resources and work out joint holiday programmes.
Uganda Tourism news