Tourism and Uganda Martyrs Day
Uganda Tourism Board is the government agency with the responsibility of promoting and marketing Uganda as the preferred tourism destination. In doing this Uganda Tourism Board focus on both the foreign and local tourists
Uganda Tourism Board is also charged with the inspection of all tourist services and facilities in order to ensure conformity with international standards. These facilities include hotels and other accommodation facilities, and restaurants.
Some of the work we do includes:
Designing and implementing a marketing strategy for tourism in Uganda. This is done in consultation with the private sector and other government agencies in the tourism sector
We also have the responsibility to promote Uganda as an attractive and sustainable tourist destination
Locally, and majorly, Uganda Tourism Board has the responsibility to let Ugandans know of their country. We encourage and promote domestic tourism within Uganda
UTB also encourages investment in the tourism sector and wherever possible, to direct such investment to the less developed tourism areas
To develop sustainable tourism, Uganda Tourism Board promotes and sponsors educational programs and training, in schools, focusing on tourism. Our youth are our future, so they need to know what makes our country unique and special as a tourism destination.
Why should we be bothered about tourism?
Because tourism is every single Ugandans business. Because this is your country and heritage and you deserve to enjoy and rejoice in it. Because your children will take over when you sign out…so you had better leave them something worth telling generations about.
The tourism sector is loaded with opportunities for everyone from the small players to the big timers. There something for everyone. It is not the same in other sectors say manufacturing where only a few may benefit. Tourism is all inclusive and goes a long way in preserving our culture, our heritage and our customs—because like it was before, they are a source of a livelihood.
What do you have in store for Ugandans
Come June 3, millions of Ugandans, East Africans, and people from all over the world will converge on Kampala to celebrate the Uganda Martyrs Day. Uganda is the only country with such a day in Africa making it a great signature event for faith based tourism. Many of the faithful would love to take with them another experience of Uganda and that is where we come it.
Uganda Martyrs Days is here, beyond a public holiday and probably church, is there anything else
Uganda Martyrs Day is a great day like no other in Uganda and the world. Our call to all Ugandans and tourism stakeholders is that we should move beyond just June 3 of every year.
We have done well to develop that day and bring the world into Uganda. It is time we went a notch higher and took the world onto the Martyrs Trail throughout the year. The Uganda Martyrs were picked up and killed from different places before the largest group ended up at Namugongo. We are Uganda Tourism Board in collaboration with the main faiths would like to take you through the experience of that journey.
By going through the Martyrs Trail, you will get to know that special heritage we hold in our nation Uganda. You will have the opportunity to see the different monuments, pray at the shrines, read the stories, and even see the places you may have never thought were so special to you. For example, how many know there is a museum at Rubaga Cathedral? Yet many pray or pass by the premises regularly.
Uganda Tourism Board has already designed the trail and tourists can start and finish it at any time or point, and this can be done at any time through the year.
What is in tourism for us ordinary people- selling rolex, working in Owino
Everything. There is everything for you and I as ordinary Ugandans to benefit from Tourism. Tourism is not only about going to the game parks? It is not only about the wild animals. It is not only about the whitewater rafting. It is all of those and much more.
Where in East Africa or Africa or the world for that matter will you find an edible rolex? And this is not a watch! Yes, the rolex guy is a major draw for the different tourists who would like to the experience of eating that special rolex.
Bodabodas when well managed and regulated are a great thing tourists can enjoy in Kampala and beyond. Right now, there is even a safari company using bodas to take clients for tours around Kampala.
Owino market is so great and diverse a place that every tour company should consider it. Consider this: you may have once in a lifetime opportunity to buy back the clothes you donated; then walk through the corridors to put your taste buds to the test-literary and be awed by the St. Balikuddembe monument where one of the Martyrs breathed their last. All that is packed in one small piece of Kampala. But there are so many such markets around the country.
How can we develop strong domestic tourism?
The only way we are going to develop domestic tourism is if you and I get off our chairs and go out there to do some exercise visiting, seeing, photography and talking about our country and heritage.
How many of us have even taken a road trip to Jinja? Yet there are so many foreigners who know so much about our source of the Nile and every bend down the river. They even know and have seen more of the Mabira on the way to Jinja than most of us have seen in our entire lives here.
The Baganda say “Okutambulakulaba, okudakunyumya”- meaning to travel is to see, to return is to tell stories of your travels. That is what we need to do.
We need to begin celebrating our unique cultures. Uganda is the most culturally diverse country in the world- see Max Fisher’s research as reported in the Washington Post “A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries”. We should celebrate this. That is why we have now included the Imbalu festival on our annual calendar of events. This circumcision ceremony initiating boys into men comes every even year.
Now we are also working with different stakeholders to promote other cultural events like the food and music festivals. In August this year, get set for a food and cultural festival at the Uganda Museum. You will have the opportunity to get a taste of Uganda- literary.
It is doing such things that define us as Ugandans- and getting out of our homes and cities—going out to see what is in our neighborhood that we shall develop domestic tourism.
What is the impact of domestic tourism on the economy and social life?
Economically, the impact is huge. Tourism is now the greatest earner of foreign exchange in Uganda beating the tradition fish, coffee and remittances income. With more investment, the tourism sector will become the largest employer in Uganda. This is so because of the way income is spread out in the tourism chain value. The trinkets vendor, bodaboda rider and all the way to the hotels and airlines benefit.
Socially the impact of tourism is transforming. There is nothing like the experience of seeing the wildlife, people, foods and cultures all around Uganda. Even the simple act of driving for leisure say from Kampala to Gulu through Jinja, Tororo, Mbale, Soroti, Lira and round back to Kampala can be a life changing experience. Now, that cannot be measured. It is lived.