By our reporter
Few Ugandans are so passionately and aggressively marketing Uganda’s tourism like tour agent and hotel entrepreneur Amos Wekesa.
Wekesa, one of the biggest names in Uganda’s tourism industry has used his influence to advocate a couple of changes in the tourism sector, and he soundly restless unless he touches where it matters most; the tourism promotions agency, the Uganda Tourism Board.
Using his popular Facebook page, Wekesa has on Tuesday morning woken up with guns brazing, attacking the management and staff of UTB, almost calling them ‘incompetent’.
The frustration in Wekesa’s post seems to spring from the fact that UTB, which is poorly funded compared to regional tourism power houses Kenya and Tanzania, has not only done little marketing across the globe as it should, but also committed the sacrilege of returning money to the consolidated fund.
Sources in UTB indicate that the tourism agency will be returning close to a billion shilling to the consolidated from.
The board receives not more than Sh17 billion to promote Uganda to Ugandans as well as international markets.
Wekesa therefore advocates for an overhaul at UTB and bring in people competent enough to utilize to the maximum the few resources at their disposal.
Below is Wekesa’s post:
UGANDA TOURISM BOARD
I have been reading a few thoughts expressed on social media about Uganda Tourism Board and as usual, I avoid making comments without reading and understanding certain things.
The challenges of UTB in the past and right now are same challenges many government agencies are facing and its because we don’t seem to have a clear road map on where our country should go economically like we do we security. We have done well when it comes to security generally speaking and employing methods in other sectors would help us go a long way.
A clear roadmap of where we want to go economically as a country would see us draw a clear strategy for sectors like tourism and with clear strategies, we would employ the right people with right attitude who would give clear performance contracts.
I have been at the center of advocating for resources for tourism and I can say we manage to get government to increase UTBs funding from ushs 300m to 17b and then I realized that increased budget isn’t enough without competent people managing same resources just like hardware can’t do much without software.The organization has even failed to use same little money returning some of it back to finance year in year out yet our neighbors are shinning with less attractions.
If one went to UTB and asked simple questions like how many national parks are there in Uganda? How many tourism rooms are available in Uganda and how many lodges are coming up? Questions like what are our comparative advantages as a country? If you asked about how many of them if they have visited more 3 national parks etc? You would be shocked. Unless, you ask how many other countries they have visited? You can’t market what you don’t know ever….and thats our dilemma.
Uganda must know that we are competing with other countries neighboring us who have deployed their best brains in the tourism industry. They have employed people with passion, self drive , knowledge and understand both how the world works and their own countries. The Ugandan population is simply watching in admiration
I think UTB should simply allow all competent Ugandans out there to compete for all Jobs in the organization and if they are employed and fail to produce results as well, they should be shown exit as well. Good marketing of Uganda would see many young people employed and more forex would flow in.
My two cents…….