UGANDA (eTN) – In a growing show of strength and verve, Uganda has again taken top accolades at the just-concluded international tourism expo – the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo. The expo was in Diani near the coastal city of Mombasa.
Uganda scooped the Grand Award for Best Overall Exhibition Stand and Best Stand Design at the fifth edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) that ran from October 15-17. This is the second international award that Uganda has won after the Best Exhibitor Award at the Indaba Tourism Expo in Durban, South Africa, earlier this year in May.
On receiving the award, Edwin Muzahura, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) marketing manager said that the international and regional response to Uganda’s marketing strategy is proof of the right mix to grow the tourism numbers in Uganda. “Uganda can no longer be ignored on the tourism scene. We are basically getting back what rightly belongs to us as the Pearl of Africa and a top tourism destination,” Muzahura said.
According to the host, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), the expo at the Leisure Lodge Resort in Diani in Kwale county was one of the best shows. With over 120 participants, attendance went up by 40% compared to last year. Uganda was at the center of it all attracting both local and international interest from hosted buyers, suppliers, and tourism boards.
“The general look in terms of branding and customer services gave the Uganda stand a lead over the rest,” said Waithera Ng’ang’a, the Marketing Society of Kenya chief executive officer. Ng’ang’a led a group of judges in ranking the exhibitors. Stephen Asiimwe, the Uganda Tourism Board CEO said the growing recognition of Uganda as a tourism destination of choice is not coincidental but an outcome of deliberate promotion and marketing. “The Magical Kenya award comes hot on the heels of our earlier award at Indaba in South Africa. Over the last year or so, UTB has been focusing resources ensuring Uganda gets her place on the international tourism scene,” Asiimwe said. He added that marketing is like a farmer planting seed, whose maturity takes times and fruit is seen later. What we see today, and what is coming up is the fruit of all tourism stakeholders working together to promote Uganda.
Over 35 countries attended the Magical Kenya Expo, while 16 Ugandan firms participated. The Uganda Tourism Board is also holding the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo from November 17-19 in Kampala. With the growing interest in the Uganda, the number of participants is expected to be much higher than at last year’s expo.