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Kenya, Uganda seal deal to promote regional tourism

Compiled by Regina Wambui

Over 100 Ugandan business people, hoteliers, tour guide operators, and other stakeholders in the tourism industry will this month converge in Mombasa for a special conference and exhibition meant to leverage and build a  partnership and bilateral tourism trade between Kenya Coast and Uganda.

The exhibition themed ‘Strengthening Networks, Synergies, and Diversity to Maximize the Tourism Potential between Uganda and Kenya Coast’ will be held at the Mombasa PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort from November 17, 2022.

The conference is organized through a partnership between the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) together with Uganda Consulate and the six Coast County Governments.

Speaking at the PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort in Mombasa during a pre-event media briefing in regards to the intended conference, Paul Mukumbya who is Uganda’s Consulate-General said both Kenya and Uganda can benefit effectively from tourist arrivals in each by selling their respective tourism packages to visitors from abroad.

Mr Mukumbya said they came up with the concept of bringing together tourism players from both countries in a conference and exhibition to enable them  discuss how strengthened regional partnerships can help boost the free flow of  tourists to visit either Kenya or Uganda.  

“We should all know that both countries, Uganda and Kenya complement each other but not compete. Uganda is the biggest source market for Kenya and Kenya is, as well, the biggest source market for tourists to Uganda. Unfortunately, the two countries  don’t know much about what each can offer in terms of tourist packages,” said Mr Mukumbya.

He added, “And this is why we’ve decided to collaborate by bringing together tourism players from Uganda and specifically, the Kenya Coast. We want to first focus on the East African tourism market which is considered domestic by encouraging and growing the tourism arrivals within the East Africa region. Our focus is on Uganda and the Kenya Coast. Later, it will be easy for us to reach other East Africa destinations like Tanzania.”

Mr Mukumbya expressed confidence that the partnership between the two countries shall significantly promote beaches and different tourism products on the Kenyan Coast and adventure tourism in Uganda as one package.

“This will not only increase tourist numbers but will also create more opportunities for tourism stakeholders,” he said.

Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) Chair, Victor Shitakha noted that Coastal counties are the tourism hubs of Kenya, and tourists from Europe, North America, and beyond visit the beaches and resorts in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu annually to enjoy a variety of tourism attractions.

Kenya’s tourism products on the Coast include Fort Jesus, beaches, resorts, marine national parks, elephant sanctuaries, dolphins, Takwa Ruins and the Lamu Old Town Unesco World Heritage site, slave caves, sacred forests, Vasco Da Gama Fort, white sands, coral reefs, diving, and snorkeling.

In the package, Uganda offers adventure tourism and culture with unique safaris, mountain gorillas, rare tree-climbing lions, and over 1,063 bird species. It is also the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river.

Mr Shitakha said the partnership facilitated by both governments will also provide a platform for private tour operators in Kenya and Uganda to work together to market each other’s tourism products.

“The move will create networks and synergies and we are not in competition but we complement each other, where we shall come up with packages marketed together and sell both safari and beaches as one package,” said Mr Shitakha.

He also urged new Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penina Malonza to work together with stakeholders to ensure the industry is revived from the impact of Covid-19.

“I am happy with President William Ruto for appointing Madam Penina Malonza to head the tourism docket as Cabinet Secretary. As tourism stakeholders, we fully welcome her. We know she is coming with fresh ideas and we hope to work together so as to revive the sector,” said Mr Shitakha.

Hasnain Noorani, the Owner, Founder, and Group Managing Director of the Pride Group welcomed the tourism players from Uganda and Kenya to be hosted and accommodated at the PrideInn Paradise and Beach Resort at favourable rates.

“I welcome all to PrideInn Paradise and Beach Resort. We’re looking forward to hosting the conference this month as from November 17, 2022. I believe after this particular initiative, tourism opportunities between the East Africa countries will be greatly boosted,” said Mr Noorani.

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