Uganda Tourism Board: A bastion of mediocrity

If you asked me a year ago if i would be a trending factor across the tour operator world especially for the wrong reasons, i would certainly take a wide berth.

No need to go through the whole rigmarole of regurgitating the details here. I have always firmly believed challenges come with a silver lining…for sure i could use the platform right now to this end.

Uganda has more than 50% of the bird species in Africa and more than 1 1% of those in the world….birds do not need visas or letters of invitation. They go where they find peace and therefore there must be a truth in this country” If you ever wondered why else it should be called the Pearl of Africa, Gen. Elly Tumwiine nailed it with this statement.

The fact that we still score miserably in the region as far as tourism earnings and, or performance is concerned should be
treasonable.

So many reasons have been brought forward with the highlight being underfunding towards the bodies regulating tourism…the biggest area i will direct my criticism. I will hazard a guess that about 60 to 70% goes to per diem, endless travel allowances and workshops( characteristically always held in the most expensive hotels much to the chagrin of the smaller establishments…currently UT B is on a drive to have all hotels registered under their umbrella, at a fee of course! Where will these small players get the zeal to conform if they only support the fat-cats in the industry?).

Still on the issue of only supporting the big players…POATE 2023 was heralded as a success but the bitter truth is that it was an absurd parade of mediocrity.

Inviting hosted buyers to a half-prepared venue which was only completed two days in, a heavily pregnant marketing executive being utterly rude to stall exhibitors in a hurry to display their wares, power cut on day one, erratic or no wi-fi at an event of international standard….curiously wouldn’t UMA grounds or the cricket oval be an easier venue for both residents and nonresidents to access.

With fat-cats whose beaks are constantly being whet, such submissions of smaller players like myself will go to waste. Back to the elephant in the room, i found myself at the receiving end of excitable enforcers laced with malice and prejudice. Disputes happen every now and then…the issue is how to handle them.

The aftermath of a malicious social media campaign against me by a one Mudonyo( hope he earns more money from this illintentioned act) afforded me lots of information from other tour operators who have been harangued by the likes of Mudonyo and his ilk. You cannot shoot first and ask questions later!

He blatantly claimed i was on the run…where in this country can a Kaka disappear? I come from a military family and intelligence at that…i really wonder if they lack enough proverbs to learn from…”tosala gwa kawala…”

Tourists just like tour operators are not infallible and this notwithstanding, both are important to this country and when issues arise, both should be handled fairly and with dignity.

The rush to destroy a Co. image is utterly absurd especially by someone who may not even have capacity to run a kiosk. Job creators will always overridde job seekers…Ssese Islands Xtreme Adventures is incorporated as of 2014, way beyond the average Co. lifespan in Uganda.

The fact that am just 34yrs old underscores my passion for tourism irrespective of what naysayers believe. I have grown up in the hospitality world…25 years of experience with three international languages under my belt.

I am sure i have more value than most of the masquaraders at the helm of the tourism table….only when you come off those high horses and listen to the smaller players will you have a balanced vision. I am only responsible for what i say, not what you understand.
For God and my country.

Asiimwe Arnold.
Ssese Islands Xtreme Adventures.

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