SHARP RISE IN VISITOR NUMBERS FOR UGANDA LAST YEAR FROM NORTH AMERICA
(Posted 01st March 2017)
Tourist numbers from the top 20 North American (United States and Canada) tour operators directly selling Uganda leisure travel packages has more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.
The rise in numbers is largely due to the increased marketing efforts by Uganda Tourism Board through the North American public relations and travel trade representation firm, PHG Consulting. Engaged in May 2016, PHG Consulting has been promoting Uganda to the North American market through strategic direct sales and marketing efforts, public and media relations; and integrated promotions.
‘In 2015, we had no Uganda offerings, as interest was low‘ said one leading North American tour operator ‘That changed in 2016, when we had more than 50 bookings‘.
He says they have now added in more itinerary options that include Uganda and have included the Pearl of Africa in their marketing efforts because of the growing interest in the destination. The sustained growth has been experienced across the board by other operators as well. In some case, operators have seen sales to Uganda triple in number. A separate operator surveyed reported that their numbers rose from 80 to 250 from 2015 to 2016. Yet another American tour operator in the luxury category participated in a familiarization trip to Uganda, and has since increased sales from 18 trips to 62 trips, with this number anticipated to rise to 90 in 2017.
‘To remain competitive, we must keep the fire burning working through the PR firms‘ said Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO Uganda Tourism Board before adding: ‘The numbers are beginning to show since we began promoting Uganda in the North America market. This too is happening in the other markets in the UK and Europe‘.
Over the last week, UTB has taken a group of ten tour operators and media on a tour of Uganda. The teams have had cultural experiences, participated in wildlife focused activities, and visited accommodations and tourism attractions around the country.
It also hosted 75 buyers from around the world including leading travel writers on fam trips ahead of the second edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo, which concluded last Sunday with a gala dinner during which Uganda’s Tourism Excellence Awards for 2017 were announced.