The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Maria Mutagamba on Friday March 15, briefed the media on Uganda's participation at the just conclude International Travel Berlin. Below is her statement.
Uganda participated in the annual ITB Berlin 2013 Travel and Tourism Exhibition which took place from 6th to 10th March 2013 at Messe Berlin in Germany where Uganda emerged as the fifth best exhibitor out of 54 African countries which participated at ITB.Uganda's delegation was led by the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Hon. Maria Mutagamba. The delegation included representatives of public and private sectors, to promote Uganda as unique tourism destination.
The theme of Uganda at the fair was "Uganda the Pearl of Africa, Your Eco-Tourism Destination".
Twenty tour operators and one Hotel exhibited.
This year, Uganda's stand space increased from 56 sqm to 120sqm which enabled us to: accommodate more exhibitors who increased from 15 last year to 24,create more space for meetings, widened space for storage, display cultural artifacts and provide space for entertainment by Ndere Cultural Troupe.
On the first day of the show, the German minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Hon. Dirk Niebel visited the Uganda stand and was welcomed by Hon. Maria Mutagamba.
The Uganda Community Tourism Association, UCOTA's Pearls of Africa Program won the "TO DO" award which recognized UCOTA's role in involving communities in tourism activities and enhancing their livelihoods.
Uganda which is the current chair to the East African Community hosted the East Africa Press conference and cocktail at the Uganda stand on 8th March, 2013.Hon.Maria Mutagamba officiated at this event. The event was attended by the Deputy Secretary General of the EAC in charge of Project and Programs Hon. Jessica Eriyo, all EAC ambassadors to Germany, Ministers of Tourism and other invited dignitaries from Germany as well participants from the member states .During the event, the EAC was showcased as a single tourist destination.
During the show, Uganda served branded Ugandan beverages including Rwenzori Mineral water, Nile Gold and Nile Special Beers, branded coffee and coffee beans, roasted ground nuts, fried plantains. Other giveaways included drum shaped key rings and flash disks in the shape of Ugandan map and in the colors of the Uganda flag, Uganda Tourist maps and brochures.
In addition to unique giveaways, Uganda's leading entertainment group, Ndere Dance troupe put up a fantastic and breath-taking cultural entertainment which was a crowd puller at the stand. This left a memorable impression on the participants and other trade visitors.
I wish to note that this year, there was heightened interest and increased inquiries about Uganda. The Uganda stand was busy during the trade fair with an average of 200 inquiries at the stand per day for the five days of the show. In 2011, Uganda received 8,960 tourists from Germany. With our continued presence in German market, it is projected that the arrivals will increase further at an annual rate of 10%.
As we approach the Easter festive season, I urge all Ugandans to visit the unique attractions in our beautiful country during Easter holidays. I request all hotels and tour operators to offer affordable packages for Ugandans during Easter to enable them visit and appreciate our beautiful country.
The chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) Mr. Bonifence Byamukama said 11 contracts were signed with Ugandan operators to do joint businesses. The media briefing at the media center was attended by Cuthbert Baguma of UTB and Stephen Masaba from UWA.