By Eve Muganga
Officials at the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) say they will work more with local and international influencers to boost Uganda’s tourism sector.
“We are now recovering after being hit by the pandemic. We want to start working with different influencers from Uganda like Joshua Cheptegei. We shall bring in people from the US, Austria, Germany, Switzeland so that they market our country because they have a big following,” UTB ‘s marketing manager, Ms Claire Mugabi told journalists as they welcomed renowned Emirati YouTuber and vlogger Khalid Al Ameri shortly after his arrival at Entebbe international Airport on a three-day visit to Uganda with his family.
“United Arab Emirate (UAE) is one of the markets we are currently targeting for tourism. We have traditionally been focusing on North America, the UK, Germany, Australia and Switzerland, among other traditional markets that we focused on because of their attractive nature in terms of the arrivals. We want to work with Khalid to tap into his following because he has over 6 million followers. As UTB, we want to work with him to further consolidate our presence in the UAE market, “she said.
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She further revealed government, through the board are now focusing on new and emerging markets like the UAE, Japan and China, among others.
“So in line with our market development strategy of tapping into the UAE market, we want to work with people like Khalid to tap into their voice and their brand to further create visibility for destination Uganda to create awareness about the different tourism products we have as a country,” Ms Mugabi added.
“We came to know Mr Khalid through the story which went viral on December 11, 2020 as he and his family saw off Ms Sarah Nassanga who had been working with them for over 6 years. As UTB when, Mr Khalid mentioned he was coming to Uganda to attend Sarah’s wedding this month, we wanted to expose Mr Khalid to what we have as a country beyond the beautiful person of Sarah because as a destination, one of the key assets we have as a country is the hospitality. Therefore, we thank Ms Sarah Nassanga that through her, we have been able to connect with Mr Khalid,’’ she added.
Mr Amos Wekesa, founder and managing director of Great Lakes Safaris Limited, said visitors like Khalid make countries like UAE survives on mainly attracting influencers.
“For us, getting such an influencer is fantastic because what he will put on his online platform will stay for a long time and will help Uganda. We are hoping and praying that UTB makes him a Ugandan ambassador for tourism that he comes back to the country,” Mr Wekesa said.
”As a country, we understand the importance of tourism to an economy, using it as an opportunity coming to attend Sarah’s wedding, we wanted to see part of the country,” Mr Khalid said describing Ms Nassanga as a sister to them.
He further noted that the leadership of UAE has enabled a conducive environment to attract many visitors and ensure that tourists from around the world can travel to the UAE and enjoy the country, explore, connect with the people, connect with the culture and create the global environment that UAE has today.
Such environment include good infrastructure and the necessary systems, according to the vlogger.
“I came to Uganda to share that story with the world. I’m more curious to see how my family interacts with nature, to see things they love and see beauty of mother Earth and we look forward to sharing this story with the rest of the world,” he added.