Uganda Safari Guide Association calls for meeting to discuss state of tourism
Stakeholders in Uganda call for meeting amid allegations of association failures
UGANDA (eTN) - Long-pending differences of opinion and a range of allegations towards the incumbent leadership of the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) will come to a head this afternoon, after the Uganda Safari Guide Association (USAGA) broke the silence and called for a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss the state of the tourism private sector’s apex body. Clearly dissatisfied with a lack of opportunities to openly discuss the state of the industry, allegedly because no meetings have been arranged by UTA for an extended period of time, USAGA must have thought that enough is now finally enough, and in open defiance of attempts to silence them gone public with a widely-circulated email availed to this correspondent, to meet at the Uganda Museum this Friday at 1500 hours.
A number of regular contacts in the industry also made contact following the release of the email and the subsequent flurry of behind-the-scenes activities and one had this to say on condition of strict anonymity, citing the potential backlash by association leaders now under fire as a result of being exposed in public: “It is true what Herbert has been saying in his mail. UTA has not held meetings and the member associations could not interact other than through one-on-one contacts and informally. Many have been fed up with the way the industry is not moving fast enough, and UTA is supposed to spearhead the private sector efforts.
“This is a big year for Uganda Tourism, we are 50 years old as a nation, and Lonely Planet made us their global top-ranked destination for 2012. Too little has been done really to exploit that, and now people are fed up and want answers. What we got is some people doing a peacock and maybe even using good office for promoting themselves. There have been efforts to sort this out, but in vain, and now matters have come to a head. Herbert saw no other chance but to go public with his concerns. Now it is in the open, and we can start the process of revitalizing UTA and returning it to its glory days from you know when. What is sad is that it had to come to this, and our dirty linen are now washed in public instead of behind closed doors, but it could not have been avoided because of the resistance of some trying to hang on.”
The full text of the mail in question is published here below for readers to form their own opinion and in particular for Ugandan stakeholders to attend this meeting and find out directly what the opposing sides have to say for themselves and how a way forward can be mapped out and followed through.
Dear Members of the Tourism Fraternity,
I am writing to invite you as member of the tourism community of Uganda to a meeting scheduled for June 8, 2012 at the Uganda Museum, at 3:00-5:00 pm, to discuss matters relating to UTA and its future progress. As stakeholders, and members of UTA, we feel USAGA has tourism issues and contributions which would have been discussed at [the] UTA level, but due to [the] lack of an avenue to do this, nothing can be done to our industry, as it continues lagging behind.
The government of Uganda and its development partners find [it] challenging creating partnerships with loosely-related private sector tourism stakeholders.
We have also realized that there has not been any Annual General Meeting or Governing Council meeting of UTA for more than 3 years.
We have also realized that there has not been any organized election for the leaders for a long time. The current "office bearers" may not have been formally elected into their office according to the constitution.
The purpose of this meeting, therefore, is to collectively chat out ways of strengthening UTA and ensure that we all ably represented in all aspects and our concerns, and other members concerns are addressed.
It would be of importance if you confirm you attendance on this email or by sending a message to numbers below.
On another note, there is a monthly tourism forum going on every last Saturday of the month. The next forum will take place on June 30 at the Uganda Museum at 3:00 pm.
Your attendance will be very important in this process of reviving our apex body, Uganda Tourism Association.