UGANDA has contracted three reputable public relations and marketing firms to promote its increased focus on tourism and the fantastic products and services the Pearl of Africa offers to the world.
The three firms, Kamageo, KPRN Network and PHG Consulting are all well-known names in the travel industry, and bring with them extensive experience promoting other destinations such as Uganda - but few as pristine and near-virgin in tourism potential.
"The last time Uganda hired a PR firm to promote tourism was in 1971, and you know what we have gone through ever since then yet in spite of that we are doing fairly in terms of visitor numbers. These three firms have the opportunity to shoot up the numbers in a major way - and we expect to see good results within a couple of years, provided the government and private sector all invest more in tourism," said Amos Wekesa, Board Member of the Uganda Tourism Board, in Entebbe after the signing ceremony.
The ceremony was officiated over at the highest level in the land, by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and conducted at State House, Entebbe.
The president endorsed the three firms and and said he was launching them to represent, promote and seek tourism investment on behalf of Uganda, particularly in North America, the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland and German speaking markets.
"Uganda is very easy to market. There is no country comparable to Uganda. We are right on the Equator but on a high altitude and we have good climate," President Museveni said at the event.
The President said Uganda's nationwide security was an added bonus for tourists and visitors, in spite of some negative news reports.
The marketing firms, led by Ms. Hanna Kleber, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KPRN Network, noted that Uganda has a great chance because people know about the country. She said that the PR firms would expend have to put in more efforts and close the gaps.
KPRN Network describes itself as "one of Germany's foremost full-service PR and Marketing consultancies, focusing on tourism and lifestyle" and has over the years won many accolades within the travel industry. Headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, KPRN Network was founded in 1994 by Hanna Kleber after an illustrious career in the global travel industry.
The firm has worked with Thailand (20 years), South Africa (15 years) and Namibia (12 years).
"Uganda is a destination with great potential for the German speaking markets. With our expertise in destination marketing for the African continent and our close contacts to the tourism industry and to media partners, we have the best set up in order to increase the awareness of Uganda as an attractive holiday destination," Ms. Kleber said.
Kamageo describes itself as "Africa destination specialists" and announced after the signing ceremony that the firm was "set to launch an integrated marketing and representation campaign on behalf of Uganda to increase tourism to the country, by showcasing the vast range of tourism products it has to offer."
Tim Henshall, Kamageo's Managing Director, said he first visited Uganda in 1999 and fell in love with the country ever since.
"“As well as its world-famous mountain gorillas, the country has a wealth of national parks, an abundance of wildlife, incredible lakes and waterways including the Nile, truly outstanding birding and a wide range of adventure activities. You can make it ‘Your Uganda’ by choosing out what matches your personal dreams,” Henshall said.
Kamageo has over ten years' experience marketing destinations in Africa, including managing the UK tourism offices for Malawi, Swaziland and Rwanda, on top of managing specific projects for more than fifteen (15) African countries.
These PR firms were chosen after an international competitive bidding process managed and funded by the World Bank through the Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) which was coordinated by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU). The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is one of the beneficiary Government Agencies that has received support from the World Bank.
Under CEDP, the tourism sector is being supported through product planning, packaging and promotion, among other components. The project will support the Government of Uganda in promoting tourism products and services to the country’s key source markets of North America (USA and Canada), the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, and German speaking areas in Europe, namely the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
At Shiyaya Tours we are excited by this news because it means we have the opportunity to increase our visitor handling numbers, by working along with these firms and complementing their efforts to promote Uganda's tourism.