Uganda is striving in its efforts to woo Nigerians, especially the Catholics with faith base tourism and also to promote the destination Uganda in Nigeria.
The Country’s delegation at the recently held Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos led by the minister of state for tourism, Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey which included the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency Nelson Ocheger and a Catholic Reverend Father stated that they are in the country to promote the destination Uganda and also to talk more about the Uganda martyrs.
Speaking in an interview, the Ugandan minister of state for tourism stated that the country’s martyrs are their flagship for this year’s Akwaaba Travel show.
Hon. Kiwanda said the country is concentrating more on the Martyrs because as a country, it has has been receiving many people from Nigeria coming for the Day of the Uganda martyrs.
According to him, “essential it is a faith base tourism, of course we have a lot in Uganda but this time we decided to flag off the Uganda martyrs. Why? It is because as a country we have been receiving many people from Nigeria coming for the Day of the Uganda martyrs. Secondly, there are very many churches here in Nigeria that is named after the Uganda martyrs.
Just like Kizito, Ruwanga, all these churches are here in Nigeria but some people don’t know about the story, so we decided this time around to come and share with the Nigerian people the story of the Uganda martyrs. That is why we flagged off the martyrs at the 15th Akwaaba, but we have a lot that we can share also with Nigeria.”
Kiwanda explained that the Knight of saint Mulumba from Nigeria comes every time for the celebration of the Uganda martyrs.
He said Uganda may be having over 200 to 300 pilgrimages from Nigeria that are coming to the country on faith base tourism.
In his words, “this numbers is just for the period of June 3rd, but there are very many that come year round. And actually our target is that people should come year round instead of just June 3rd. Because when you come on June 3rd, the place is really parked with over 4 million people in one location, with that you may not have the experience that you may have when you come a bit early, so that you have the real experience”.
Kiwanda disclosed that Uganda just launched its national carrier which is one of the ways to also drive tourism to their destination.
He said Uganda airline is a young airline which may not cover all the destinations at once.
The minister added that the airline is doing partnership with the rest of the airlines to bring numbers from the rest of the Africa countries to Uganda.
The minister noted that: “Uganda airline is a young airline, we may not cover all the destinations at once. Apart from the destinations it flies to like Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and others, we have countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, the Uganda airline may not necessary cover these destinations but we are doing partnership with the rest of the airlines to bring numbers from the rest of the Africa countries. Of course our marketing strategy is on four front-lines. We are doing a lot of domestic, regional, continental and then also international. But of course most of our tourists comes from Africa, so we need to do more of advertisement to Africans and also call upon African countries to visit Africa. It is also my role here to tell Africans especially the Nigerians, you know the economy of Nigeria is really one of our big economies in Africa. So when you open up to Nigerians, it is actually a very big move to promote tourism in Africa and especially Uganda”.
Kiwanda said Akwaaba is bringing a lot of opportunities to Uganda, by giving the country an opportunity to interact with different destinations and tour operators.
The minister stated further that: “It has given us the opportunity to showcase to the Nigerian people the rich culture and tourism of Uganda. I have gone to very many tourism expos but Akwaaba is very organised in terms of the media. They started covering us even before we came here. We started seeing the stories about Uganda, in the media which doesn’t happening in other expos. I think Akwaaba has that advantage. It is using the media very well, it is out of this that we are getting a big mileage out of Akwaaba, so we are happy as Ugandans.”