Shs 6.4bn spent to market Uganda

Uganda’s Tourism sector has registered an increase of tourist arrivals from United States, United Kingdom and Germany due to the use of Public Relations Company in these countries as a major strategy to market the Country.

Addressing the press at Uganda Media Centre Thursday, the assistant Executive Director of Uganda Tourism Board John Ssempebwa said that the number of arrivals from US has risen from 4500 to 90,000. From Germany registered arrivals were 14,000 last year and yet, this number has been hit within eight months this year.

From Germany the numbers however dropped from 50,000 to 45,000 arrivals and this UTB attributes to Brexit.

“Before we hired these firms we were getting about 45000 arrivals from the US. In year one, the numbers increased by 17% (about 90,000). In Germany when we started we had 10,000 arrivals from Germany itself. Last year go and check UBOS we got 14.000 arrivals” said Ssempebwa

In 2016, government hired three Public Relations firms including PHG Consulting headquartered in USA, Kamageo of UK and KPRN of Germany. PHG was supposed to tap into the North American market, Kamageo in the UK and Ireland market and KPRN in the Germany, Switzerland and Australia Markets.

According to Ssempebwa, the use of PR firms is an effective strategy since these are local firms trusted by potential tourists in those countries.

“Before we hired PR firms we had a wrong marketing strategy, short term initiatives mainly to attend exhibitions; the principle is, you hire experts in those countries, and what do they do every day? On one hand we are telling tour operators that side about how good Uganda is and giving them information” Ssempebwa added

The firms received $500,000m (Shs 1.85bn) each in the first year before their contracts were renewed early this year. Uganda has so far spent Shs 6.4bn to market Uganda through the three PR firms.

According to the Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Ephraim Kamuntu, tourism revenue stands at $ 1.45 M contributing to about 10% of Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The minister also told journalists government plans to hire more PR firms this time in the gulf, China and Japan to further market Uganda.

The minister who did not give details said the president would be visiting China as part of the drive to market Uganda.