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Uganda takes number 1 spot for tourism growth in Africa

By Francis Emorut, Nairobi | Sep 30, 2012

According to the Kenya’s Secretary of Tourism, Dr. Nelson Githinji, Uganda is now in the top position in tourism industry growth in Africa. According to the 2011 tourism review in Africa, Uganda’s tourism sector grew by 25% in 2011 while that of South Africa and Tanzania realized growth of 21% and 13.4%, respectively.

Githinji observed that Uganda’s tourism growth is attributed to its tourist estination hubs, such as Queen Elizabeth National Park; Murchison Falls Park; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, renowned for its mountain gorillas, and more.

He said Uganda is also spinning on a pivot of new dynamics that are driving its tourism sector as the Asians begin to become a part of its market. “There has been a shift in the market as China, South Korea, and Japan take the lead, which was [been] dominated by the traditional countries such as [the] United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany,” he said. He also attributed Uganda’s impressive tourism growth to the stability of the country in respect to guaranteed security.

Githinji made the remarks during the opening of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2012 at Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi on Thursday. The Expo was organized by the Kenya Tourist Board and it attracted over 170 tour and travel agencies across the globe.

The expo has grown tremendously over the past year, as seen from the 19 tour and travel agencies it attracted in 2011. Agencies from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Australia, Germany, Britain, Australia, Korea, the United States, and China showcased their products. Delegates from India, Scandinavia, Japan, Italy, Spain, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and France also took part at the showcase.

The Kenyan tourism official appealed to the Kenya Tourism Board to maintain high standards in promoting tourism after scooping an award for being the best board in Africa.

The second of its kind, the 2012 event aimed at bringing together tour and travel operators worldwide to share experiences, network, and market tourism industry globally.

The Kenyan Assistant Minister of Tourism, Cecily Mbarire, urged tour operators to give adequate information on tourism destinations, and emphasized further that tourism is an engine of economic growth. “Tourism remains an important pillar in economic development compared to other sectors,” she said. She encouraged the over 170 tour agents to market the industry and assured tourists of security in the East African region.

The Consulate of the Republic of Uganda, Malaysia, is a member of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), a fast-growing grassroots travel and tourism coalition of global destinations committed to quality service and green growth.

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