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UTB launches 8-week campaign attracting local tourists

Elephants crossing the Ishaka-Kanungu road. Photo: UNRA

Elephants crossing the Ishaka-Kanungu road. Photo: UNRA

The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has announced an 8-week campaign, ‘Take On The Pearl’ aimed at attracting local tourists to experience the treasures and attractions of their country.

As the coronavirus pandemic with its international travel and lockdown restrictions continues to bite the tourism sector hard, UTB is now focusing on the local tourism to provide some sustenance. 

'Take on the Pearl’ was launched at UTB offices Friday in an e-ceremony and it is hoped that the campaign will resuscitate domestic tourism and shine a light on some of the country’s prized tourist attractions to local tourists.

According to UTB CEO Lilly Ajarova, the coronavirus pandemic has left Uganda's tourism sector on life support which has inspired the sector to reinvent itself.

“The pandemic has created an opportunity for us to look inwards and therefore travel [within] our country. It is a delight to launch this domestic tourism campaign today as part of the efforts by the board to not only encourage domestic travel but also close the seasonality gap that has been created,” Ajarova said.

For a long while, Uganda's tourism sector has relied heavily on foreign tourists - with the locals either put off by the exorbitant accommodation rates or simply not being aware of the attractions as the stakeholders focused their products on foreign visitors.  

But with international travel still restricted in a number of countries, coupled with the lifting of Uganda's lockdown measures, the stakeholders have decided to now focus on local tourists. The permanent secretary, ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Doreen Katusiime issued a rallying cry to Ugandans to explore their beautiful nation.

Local tourists bonding with cows in Ankole recently 

“Take on the Pearl will give Ugandans the chance to be aware and know more about where they can travel to during this time. I, therefore, encourage all Ugandans to travel safely and continue to follow the tourism SOPs put in place by the ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities with guidelines from the ministry of Health,” Katusiime said.

The president of the Uganda Tourism Association, Pearl Horreau Kakooza promised a memorable experience to local tourists as the explore their country

“Our fully trained safari guides are available to show hidden gems of our beautiful Uganda. The hotels are now offering discounted accommodation; the tour operators are keen to advise Ugandans on where to visit as we start on the journey to “Take on the Pearl,” she said.

Kakooza added, “I can confidently say that as the tourism professionals, we await to receive Ugandans “Take on the Pearl” to help you understand why Uganda is “The Pearl of Africa.”

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© 2016 Observer Media Ltd