By David Mugabe
KAMPALA, April 1– All major ethnic groups in Uganda, with their unique cultures and attributes, will be classified into tourism clusters which will be marketed and promoted as part of a new set of proposals to promote domestic and international tourism.
The proposals, announced by Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), last week, will also see the often ill-mentioned legacy of former Ugandan president Idi Amin turned into an attractive and profitable tourism trail that matches other global tragedies-turned-tourism-hotspots like the Holocaust Museum in Germany or the Rwanda Genocide.
“Idi Amin is the most popular Ugandan ever but no one is making use of him. We have to develop this trail,” said Asiimwe at the post-ITB Berlin briefing here Wednesday.
Among the major cluster groups are Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Kigezi, northern Ugandan, eastern tourism forum. The other trails to be created are Imbalu carnival, Kampala carnival, school outreaches.
“In June we hope everybody participates in the Uganda Martyrs Trail. We have cut Uganda into clusters — a sustainable domestic domain is critical for development,” said Asiimwe.
The proposals are part of efforts to see the tourism industry turn a new page after years of living below its potential.
Asiimwe announced that the Ministry of Finance had committed to giving it 2.0 million US dollars in the next financial year, which is a big shot in the arm following years of under-funding.
Part of the efforts will be geared towards marketing Uganda to its neighbours so that more people from the Est African Community (EAC) come to Uganda to reverse the current scenario in which a majority of Ugandans travel to Kenya.
UTB Chairman James Tumusiime said his dream is to ensure that by the end of the current board’s three-year tenure, Uganda will have a National Tourism Fair. “We want this to be our legacy. There is no forum to provide info on what Uganda can offer,” he said.
Acting director of tourism Grace Mbabazi Aulo asked the promoting agencies to build on the goodwill and several accolades that keep pouring in about Uganda’s unique blessings.
Edwin Muzahura, the head of marketing at UTB, disclosed that their findings indicated that Uganda had one of the highest visits by foreign guests to its stall at the Berlin fair ever. Some 700 guests visited the stall in the three-day event while close to 100 deals were sealed.
SOURCE: NEW VISION