JAGUZA INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXPO ENDS IN KAMPALA
(17th November 2014)
Uganda’s second international tourism expo ended last evening after showcasing over two and a half days days the country’s rich attractions at the Uganda Museum grounds.
Organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and the Uganda Tourism Board did a number of Uganda’s safari lodges and upcountry hotels, but also the adventure tourism operators showcase their services while the Uganda Wildlife Authority made sure Ugandans, expatriates and visitors from the just ended Africa Travel Association congress were able to learn more about the country’s protected areas, the ten national parks and the many more game and nature reserves.
Held under the theme ‘Celebrating People and Culture’ were performances from cultural groups across the country showcasing the wide variety of different traditional outfits and dances but the main aim of the expo was clearly directed at the domestic market to entice more Ugandans to explore their own country. Said one exhibitor: ‘We were at the Magical Kenya Expo last month and the interest from the Kenyan public was big. Their Sarit Centre travel fair was also an eye opener. We in Uganda need to do more to promote domestic travel to the parks, to the islands of Lake Victoria and even to the Nile for all these activities which are now available. We have a challenge because for many Ugandans such trips are beyond their means because the 5 star accommodation is too expensive for them. We need more affordable prices and of course also transport which covers gamedrives in the parks. There is also the issue of park fees for locals which for a family can be expensive but when we have more feedback from people about what stops them from visiting parks we can adjust here and there’.
There was though some critique over the venue as many of the ATA delegates would have found it easier to visit the trade fair had it been located at the congress venue in Munyonyo, perhaps a lost opportunity to bring many of Uganda’s attractions closer to the international visitors to the congress, showcasing areas not covered in the Host Day Programme which took the delegates to Jinja, or the fam trips some of them did prior or immediately after the end of the official programme. A tourism board official did confirm that the third edition of the travel expo will be held in 2015 though no dates were available as yet.