Amos Wekesa, the proprietor of Great Lakes Safaris has said there is need for Uganda to re-strategize its marketing and branding of Uganda if it is going to compete favorably regionally.
Wekesa said up to this moment, Uganda is mainly known as a Gorilla tracking destination and yet there are a lot if other potential destinations, sites and animals.
“Uganda has 19 trackable animals, not just gorillas. Only 0.01% of our lakes and rivers are utilized for water transport. There is need for more private companies to invest in the tourism sector. There is still a lot of potential is hotels and hospitality, tour and guide sector, transportation among others” he said.
Wekesa added that as much as Uganda has great tourism potential better than its counterparts in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, it is still doing poorly as a tourism destination mainly because it has not developed its capacity and structures to attract and serve a big number of tourists.
“When a big number of tourists from Israel were here last month, there was no single activity that they could do in one ground and had to be divided into groups. They had to sleep in different hotels and visited different regions because we do not have structures to accommodate such big numbers. That is a disadvantage to Uganda. We also have just one airport. Kenya has almost 8 airports, how do you expect us to compete favorably?”
Wekesa was speaking on Saturday at the launch of a new modern ferry MC Vanessa at the waterfront Beach in Entebbe.
The 54 seater Vessel, one of the kind in Uganda is owned by Nyanza Evergreen Water Ways.
It will be making travel shifts three days a week from Entebbe to Jinja and future expected routes to Kalagala, Portbell and other destinations.
Speaking at the same event the new Uganda Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer, Lilly Ajarova said the new boat will give a new face to the transport system in Uganda
“This is a modern, comfortable and safe boat, the first of its kind on Lake Victoria. With more innovations like these from the private sector, tourism in Uganda will become even better,” she said.
She further noted that UTB is planning to introduce ‘Brand Uganda’ campaign that intended to give a new look to Uganda as a tourism destination.
According to Olivier Vanpee, the CEO of Nyanza Waterways, the new vessel will give a safer and more comfortable alternative to road transport to travelers and tourists
“We wanted to give an alternative means of transport, apart from the road to tourists and Ugandan travels. We understand the stereotypes associated with water transport but our vessels are new, safe and internationally certified. We are also working with all the concerned agencies in Uganda to ensure that all safety procedures are fulfilled” he said
A single trip on the vessel from Entebbe to Jinja will cost $45 (Shs165,000) and $85 for return ticket.