France Donates Ush 49M Towards French Language Training in Hospitality Industry

France has donated a sum of Ush 49 million to help support the training of French language in Uganda’s tourism and hospitality industry.

The French linguistic training is targeted to benefit tour guides and the human resource in accommodation and leisure facilities as a way of positioning Uganda as a preferred destination for French visitors.

While handing over the cheque to Uganda Tourism Board Director Steven Asiimwe on Monday, sickness the French Ambassador to Uganda H.E Stephanie Rivoal said inefficiencies in the French language has for long been an obstacle for Uganda’s tourism.

This was during a discussion on tourism and environment organized by the French Embassy in Uganda as part of a series of activities to mark the ongoing Uganda – France week.

“There are only 10, more about 000 French tourists visiting Uganda annually which is a very limited number. And there’s a variety of reasons including language barrier and inadequate marketing, patient ” Ambassador Rivoal said.

“We have given this cheque so that French lessons can be offered to people working in restaurants, rangers, hotels so that when French people who can’t speak English come here, they are welcomed in French,” she added.

According to Rivoal, most French tourists prefer touring places where they can get an experience in a language they are comfortable with.

“This donation will go a long way in equipping tour guides into multilingual skills that will enhance Uganda as an exciting destination. Many Ugandan tour operators are largely English speakers and French hadn’t been taken seriously as yet,” Steven Asiimwe said.


Asiimwe admitted that government currently has no budgetary allocation towards language training for tour guides and other human resource.

He said the Hospitality Training Institute in Jinja which ideally should be responsible for facilitating human resource capacity in tourism had prioritized increasing the number of guides.

“At one point, we didn’t even have tour guides. Now we have reached a level where we have Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 guides who include national, regional and site guides. We are beginning to focus on value addition to these guides which now involves languages,” he added.

In 2016, government secured a USD 12 million grant from the World Bank to fund the refurbishment of the Hotel, Tourism and Training Institute in Jinja and transform it into a 4star institute.

The new facility is to be situated in at the premises of Crested Crane Hotel and Tourism Training Institute which is currently in a dilapidated state.

The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu yesterday said; “The architectural designs are being drawn for the Institute in Jinja and we are discussing with international schools to make the institute a centre of excellence”.

Uganda currently has over 250 registered tour guides under their umbrella association Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA) but Asiimwe said there are thousands more guides required.

Given this human resource gap, this would only make the Ush 49m a drop in the ocean as well as the sustainability of this lingual capacity building.

Just like the French Ambassador revealed, language is only part of the bigger problem of marketing of Uganda in France. While Uganda in 2015 embarked on a global promotion of its brand using 3 international marketing firms in the European and USA markets, France was left out.

In order to tap into the French market, UTB along with the Ugandan embassy in Paris must find innovative strategies of unveiling Uganda’s tourism potential to the over 60 million population. Among them is sponsoring French media excursions in Uganda to publicize some of the attractions, an initiative that is instead being taken by the French embassy here in Uganda.

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