KAMPALA- Uganda’s top foreign earner has been tourism but due to the COVID -19 pandemic the script has changed.
However, the Tourism authorities have employed other strategies and tactics to keep afloat and this has been through the promotion of domestic tourism and in the queue is training of tour guides the French language. An initiative that has been supported by French Embassy in Uganda and Alliance Francaise de Kampala (AFK) and Bonjour Kampala.
Speaking at the launch, hosted at the French Ambassador’s residence in Nakasero, Mr. Bradford Ochieng , the deputy Chief Executive Officer at Uganda Tourism Board ( UTB) said that tour guides learning French will give them the basic communication skills to handle and deal with French Tourists from France, Belgium, Holland , Europe and other Countries.
“At Uganda Tourism Board, we want to associate with the French. Just globally before COVID -19. We used to take the number one place as per Bank of Uganda. Most of our visitors come from Africa which is 80 percent from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi among others. Outside the biggest is from Europe United Kingdom taking the lead, Dutch, France, Belgium, Germany and the rest.” Ochieng Said.
He added that food is one of the most important things that tourists enjoy and that their target in the next three years is to get a representative handle at France, Dutch and Belgium.
“This is a great initiative and excited about it like never before. It is a good choice so that some us in the queue can get motivated. As UTB you have challenged us, and for sure knowing a language is a core in tourism and we shall work towards that. France is the most visited country with over 80 million tourists though it is small with over 65 million. We have to learn alot from them since they have great places like Eiffel Tower, wines; foods among others are unique elements to embrace too”. He emphasized.
His Excellency Jules – Armand Aniambossou, the French Ambassador to Uganda noted that Uganda has about 45 million and DRC about 80 Million which meant that there is a big market for us.
“By 2050, the African Continent will be the most populated and Nigeria will be the 3rd after the United States of America.
We cannot forget sport; it is the best asset and an image of a country.
It is business and the likes of Cheptegei, Phillip the Rugby player in France and others are doing well. You have all assets but the only way is to develop them and link them to France. We are working alot and all this is team effort even though i love making things work. It all in the interest of the country and looking at building a partnership. Charles Onyango Obbo wrote that French is the next thing in East Africa. I also want us to work together in a more pragmatic way.” He asserted.
Amos Wekesa, the Chief Executive Officer of Great Lakes Safaris was quick to say that the relationship between France and Uganda was growing steadfastly though COVID -19 made them miss out on great engagements that will be worked upon in the future.
Wekesa also highlighted on the high costs of hiring translators especially while dealing with French tourists.
Additionally, journalists and media personalities such as Patrick Kanyomozi, President, Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA), Flavia Tumusiime Kabura, Andrew Kabura, Jackie Arinda, Faith Mundua (Uganda Wildlife Authority), Khuzair Lwasampijja, Fou d’Afrique were some of the beneficiaries from the campaign.
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