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UTA on domestic tourism

The Uganda Tourism Association has asked top executives of organisations and companies to interest themselves in offering incentive travels to employees for not only their benefit but also promote domestic tourism.

Speaking to Chief Executive Officers of top organisations and companies during a breakfast meeting on Friday, UTA president, Pearl Hoareau Kakooza said that whereas incentive travel seems to be new to Uganda, it is profitable to the organisations and the economy at large.

“Some companies have been doing it as a matter of rewarding their employees who have worked very hard. We want this to increase and we see many companies and organisations organize trips inside the country for their employees as a reward for excelling at work,” she noted.

According to the UTA president whereas many organisations send their best performing employees and staff to go to Dubai or Mombasa among other destinations as a reward, this needs to change.

She noted that the organization ought to ensure the trips are organised within the country.

“We want to see money which has been going out of the country remain here in the tourism industry and the economy at large. Many Ugandans have actually never seen the immense beauty that Uganda has but through incentive travel, this can change. As they say, charity begins at home, let Uganda’s first visit their country before we ask foreigners to do so,” she added.

Francis Kisirinya, the acting Executive Director of the Private Sector Foundation noted that organisations benefit more by offering travel incentives to employees.

“We know Ugandans are starting to embrace domestic tourism but what is remaining is to ensure more people visit the tourism sites. The incentive package for more Ugandans to embrace domestic tourism is through offering incentive travels by the organisations, companies and overall employers in private sector, government and NGO world,” Ksirinya.

“The advantage the company gets is that it moves the employees out of the work environment into a relaxed one to help them relax, bond better and build team work.”

According to Kisirinya, at the end of the travels and visits the employees’ love for the company would grow but also become more productive which is to the advantage of the organization or company.

Kisirinya says whereas the incentive travel will see its effects trickle down to the other sectors of the economy.

The Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary, Doreen Katusiime said that the onset of the pandemic exposed the fragility of the tourism sector, noting that it is high time the country aggressively promoted domestic tourism .

“During this period, the domestic market has proved to be a reliable anchor in the face of these challenges. Tours can be arranged at significantly lower costs to ensure many people embrace this,”Katusiime said.

She insisted that the domestic tourism strategy should refocus the industry’s attention to the top executives of companies to ensure this opportunity is seized.

“Many people in the country look at tourism in a narrow and skewed perspective of being purely leisure activities engaged by foreigners but this needs to change. The base of tourism should be domestic visitors and therefore policy and business interests should be tailored to serve interests of this market segment,” she added.

Author; Kenneth Kazibwe

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