Growing demand for the Pearl of Africa
BERLIN, GERMANY—Thirty Ugandan tourism businesses and Government organisations are participating in the ITB 2017 international tourism expo in Berlin, Germany, from 7-12 March 2017. The team is found ITB Stand Hall 21A/ 121 led by Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the national marketing agency.
This is the largest contingent of Ugandan businesses ever to attend the world’s largest travel show (see list at end).
“While at the show, heads of businesses and government will meet and do business with international counter parts. Meetings have been scheduled by KPRN, the public relations firm hired by UTB to represent Uganda in Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” says Stephen Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer of UTB.
According to a survey by UTB/KPRN, European tour operators reported a booking increase for packages to Uganda in 2016 and expect a continuous rise for 2017. The Pearl of Africa, renown especially for its mountain gorillas, shines in new splendor and enjoys increasing popularity. A survey of tour operators selling Uganda in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has shown a growing demand for trips to Uganda.
"Last year, we saw significant growth rates for Uganda. 2017/18 is somewhat quieter, but we are confident that demand will level off at a high level, "said Lars Eichapfel, head of the Africa product at DIAMIR Erlebnisreisen. According to Habari Travel, 20 years in the Uganda business and one of the dedicated specialists, the demand in 2016 was particularly large.
And in Austria as well, the development is consistently positive: "We have been able to achieve significant bookings for Uganda and the product enjoys untamed demand. Over the next two years, we are aiming to grow by 30% per year, "said Mirko Lukic, Managin Director of Best 4 Travel.
Since mid-2016, the Uganda Tourism Board has been represented with its own offices in Germany, Great Britain and the USA, and since then the advertising drum has been strong. With the help of a comprehensive press and media program, the country's awareness is expected to rise and Uganda will be back on consumer's minds.
The goal is to position the Pearl of Africa on the international tourism marketplace as a safe and diverse safari and wildlife destination alongside established destinations in Africa. The marketing initiative is already bearing fruit. In addition to the African specialists who have been selling Uganda for many years, new operators have added Uganda to their portfolio, including FTI Tourism, Art of Travel, Time Travel, EWTC, Globetrotter Select and Africa Dream Travel.
Marco Stahl of Habari Travel sums it up: "The diversity with which many countries are bragging, Uganda really has it".
- Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities
- Uganda Tourism Board
- Uganda Wildlife Authority
- Civil Aviation
- Uganda Broadcasting Corporation
Private sector exhibitors
Three trade visitors
- Access Africa Safaris
- Elephant Safaris
- Pearlland Safaris
Uganda is currently investing in major infrastructure projects to prepare the Pearl of Africa for visitors. One of the lighthouse projects is the refurbishment of the international airport in Entebbe with an investment of 200 million US dollars. In addition, the government is pushing ahead with the expansion of connecting roads and highways to help travelers access the tourist centers of the country. Regional airports are also being revamped in order to create alternative and faster access routes to the national parks.
In one, all the tour operators agree: what customers value most about Uganda is the country´s incomparable natural beauty, the great variety of species and the authenticity.
"In terms of landscape, Uganda is one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, and the mountain gorillas are rightly gaining more and more friends," said Kurt Zürcher from Let's Go in Switzerland.
An important sales argument for Uganda: travelers have the opportunity to explore Africa far from the tourist masses, because the country is still an insider tip despite rising demand. While tourists in other safari destinations have to share the animals with others, the national parks in Uganda, such as the Kidepo Valley National Park, are barely touched.
In addition to the mountain gorillas, the chimpanzees and the classic safari, the country also offers trekking and hiking, adventure activities such as wild-water-rafting, the Nile and five of the seven largest lakes in Africa.