Uganda has been awarded the 5th Best Exhibitor Award, Africa category, at the just concluded ITB Berlin travel expo in Berlin Germany. The expo ran from 8-12th March with 28 Ugandan organizations participating.
The winners received the coveted awards during a festive award show at the Hotel Messe Palais am Funkturm in Berlin. This year’s 5th place for Uganda is a great improvement from the previous ninth place, a major achievement at one of the world’s largest travel shows.
During the five days of the ITB Berlin tourism expo, over 40 students of Cologne Business School evaluated the 11,000 exhibition stalls. They rated the exhibitors in eleven categories such as design, originality, and service. To provide a maximum of transparency, the top fifteen in each category were closely examined by another team of students in the second round of evaluation.
About 30 Ugandan tourism businesses and Government organizations were in the German capital Berlin, for the ITB 2017 international tourism expo. The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies.
This is the largest contingent of Ugandan businesses ever to attend ITB Tourismus-Börse Berlin. The Ugandan team was led by Hon Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Ugandan Minister of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities and the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Doreen Silver Katusiime.
“While at the show, heads of businesses and government are meeting and transacting business (B2B) with international counterparts. More meetings have been scheduled by KPRN, the public relations firm hired by Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to represent Uganda in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland,” says Stephen Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer of UTB.
UTB is the host and the main organizer of the Uganda stand at the expo. Uganda is also exhibiting alongside its Northern Corridor and East African neighbors Rwanda and Kenya under the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee (JTMC) of the two countries.
Now in its 51st edition, ITB Berlin continue to attract trade buyers of which two-thirds were directly responsible for contracting. ITB Berlin claims that its ‘international’ trade visitors increased 7.7%. Attendance at the 14th ITB Berlin Convention hit a new record of 28,000 delegates; while trade visitor numbers were at 109,000 which was lower than expected because of strike action at Berlin’s airports.
Over the five days of the show, more than 10,000 exhibiting companies from 184 countries displayed their products and services at 1,092 stands.
According to a survey carried out by UTB in conjunction with KPRN, European tour operators reported a booking increase for packages to Uganda in 2016 and expect a continuous rise for 2017.
The Pearl of Africa, renowned especially for its mountain gorillas, big five wild game, Africa’s top birding haven among others, shines in new splendor and enjoys increasing popularity. A survey of tour operators selling Uganda in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland has shown a growing demand for trips to Uganda.
“Last year, we saw significant growth rates for Uganda. 2017/18 is somewhat quieter, but we are confident that demand will level off at a high level, “said Lars Eichapfel, head of the Africa product at DIAMIR Erlebnisreisen.
According to Habari Travel, 20 years in the Uganda business and one of the dedicated specialists, the demand in 2016 was particularly large.
And in Austria as well, the development is consistently positive: “We have been able to achieve significant bookings for Uganda and the product enjoys untamed demand. Over the next two years, we are aiming to grow by 30% per year, “said Mirko Lukic, Managing Director of Best 4 Travel.
Since May 2016, the Uganda Tourism Board has been represented with its own offices in Germany, Great Britain, and the USA, and since then the advertising drum has been strong. With the help of a comprehensive press and media program, the country’s awareness is expected to rise and Uganda will be back in consumer’s minds.
The goal is to position the Pearl of Africa in the international tourism marketplace as a safe and diverse safari and wildlife destination alongside established destinations in Africa. The marketing initiative is already bearing fruit. In addition to the African specialists who have been selling Uganda for many years, new operators have added Uganda to their portfolio, including FTI Tourism, Art of Travel, Time Travel, EWTC, Globetrotter Select and Africa Dream Travel.
Marco Stahl of Habari Travel sums it up: “The diversity with which many countries are bragging, Uganda really has it”.