Uganda needs comprehensive tourism visibility strategy

Says Ex Seychelles Tourism Minister Alain St. Ange

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Google about Uganda and only the bad things will appear, every bad thing about Uganda appears on the net and we only hear about Lake Victoria when there is a tragedy. We only find Lake Victoria as a disaster and not as an attraction. Uganda has Gorillas and primates but you don’t see them, and they must keep making news everyday because they keep Uganda at the forefront.

This was former Seychelles Tourism Minister Hon. Alain st. Ange’s message, a keynote speaker during the CAA Aviation Week Stakeholders’ engagement breakfast in Kampala on Thursday. Everyone that attended the Aviation Week Stakeholders’ engagement breakfast in their different capacities agreed entirely with Hon. Alain St. Ange.

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Works Minister Hon. Monica Ntege addressing the stakeholders

Hon. St. Ange lauded Uganda for the steps taken in expanding and upgrading Entebbe International Airport and ensuring the revival of Uganda Airlines. He however urged Government that in order to have growth in passenger traffic at Entebbe International Airport, Ministry of works and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) need to work together with the Ministry of Tourism so as to have the Tourism Industry in Uganda that provides the economic backbone to keep the Airport going.

CAA needs to work with the Ministry of Tourism to push the assets and features of Uganda, and then the Airport expansion and upgrade will be worth it. A big country like Uganda that wants tourism must be able to put it’s unique selling points (USPs) on the forefront. It won’t happen by itself. Uganda as a lovely landlocked country must be able to promote it’s key features and assets to the world and this calls for a new visibility strategy for Uganda.

The Airlines that fly at Entebbe International Airport must be Uganda’s key partners in promoting Uganda’s unique selling points. Government must work with the Airlines so that they can tell the world about Uganda. Ugandans are great people but unfortunately it’s only the bad news that circulates in the world, Uganda needs the good news to go out, Hon. St. Angie stressed.

He added, “Through promoting Uganda’s key assets, Uganda will be a household name everywhere around the world and will be a key destination in East Africa. Airlines are not only partners of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) but also of the tourism industry and the tourism ministry must be represented on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Board. The Visibility of Uganda needs to be given a new push. There is need to develop a new strategy of visibility for Uganda.”

Eng. Mackenzie Ogwen who spoke on behalf of the CAA Board thanked Hon. Alain St. Ange for the inspiring message and added that the CAA Board is aware that tourism, Airports and Airlines go together.

Tourists will need Transport (Airlines), tourists will need an Airport where they can land and with the navigation equipment and all the facilities. We are quite in agreement with your theme of your speech and we are working towards ensuring we work together with our tourist board. All the functions of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) are attended by CAA fully. I also want to appeal to the law makers to help us pass the CAA Bill because it is extremely important for CAA. Every time when ICAO inspects CAA we don’t score 100 percent because of the law which is restricting CAA in a lot of areas, Eng. Mackenzie Ogwen revealed.

CAA Managing Director Dr. David Kakuba disclosed that CAA has always worked with ministry of Tourism and Tourism is part of CAA’s deliverables.

CAA has always worked with Ministry of Tourism and we believe that tourism is part of our deliverables. On the Uganda Tourism, CAA has a senior manager as a board member and the best we can do as CAA is to increase efficiency of the Airport, minimize time spent by travelers between landing and getting out of the Airport and also between departing. CAA is there to facilitate and the main objective is to have a smiling passenger with minimum inconvenience, Dr. Kakuba disclosed.

Dr. Kakuba also indicated that it is a good requirement for CAA to have a training wing adding that Kenya and Tanzania have Civil Aviation academies.

It is a good requirement for CAA to have a training wing but as of now it’s not there. Our sisters in Kenya and Tanzania have the Civil Aviation Academies and we keep taking our people there for training. If CAA takes over Soroti flying school, we shall have a big advantage and monopoly of training pilots in the region, Dr. Kakuba added.

On her part, Works Minister Hon. Monica Azuba Ntege hailed CAA for the Aviation Week Stakeholders’ engagement breakfast and Hon. St. Ange for the enriching talk adding that aviation as a highly specialized discipline calls for regular interactions with stakeholders.
Hon. Monica disclosed that the “No Country Left Behind” theme initiative highlights ICAO’s efforts to assist states in implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) stressing that the main goal is to help ensure that SARP implementation is better harmonized globally so that all states have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air Transport.

Government is committed to implementation of all efforts aimed at ensuring growth of the aviation industry and revival of the National Airline is one such avenue that government has focused on to ensure further increase in the number of passengers coming in and out of Uganda. I urge all the other air operators present to look at the National Airline not as a competitor, but one that will compliment your business through bringing in onward traffic that can be shared by existing operators in connecting to other destinations. The National Airline will also further open up more domestic routes and help to complete the tourism supply chain by joining other domestic operators in picking up passengers brought in by international air operators and conveniently connecting them to their tourism destinations upcountry, Hon. Monica Ntege revealed.

Some of the key aviation stakeholders that attended the breakfast meeting in Kampala on Thursday & CAA Management and Board Members pose for a group photo.