Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is partnering with the Ministry of Tourism, Coffee Tourism Uganda, and the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) among others to organize the first ever Coffee and Tourism Symposium and Exposition.
The symposium slated for December 6th at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Kampala, will be held under the theme, “Unlocking Uganda’s Coffee Tourism Potential.”
It is expected to bring together key stakeholders in the coffee and tourism subsectors to deliberate on how the gains and potential in both subsectors can be enhanced.
The symposium according to UTB Executive Director Mr Stephen Asiimwe is meant to discuss ways of making Uganda a destination for coffee tourists.
“Many people around the world take coffee but don’t know where it’s grown, how its grown and the culture around it,” he said.
“Bringing consumers to the farms and ensuring they have all the amenities they need in terms of transport, accommodation and on-farm experiences will also encourage incremental earnings as farmers and those in the hospitality and tourism industries gain prominence due to global exposure.”
He added, “Coffee and tourism are the biggest forex earners, and major employers of youths, women and men. As part of our product development we can’t keep selling the same things all the time.”
Mr Asiimwe also noted that it is expected that the Coffee and Tourism Symposium will become an annual event with growth in the number of participants.
Mrs Joan Kantu Else, the Coffee Tourism Uganda, CEO, while announcing the symposium at the Uganda Media Center, “Coffee and tourism are some of the biggest contributors to Uganda’s GDP. Secondly where there’s s tourism attraction, coffee grows. It is from this that we have been motivated to organise this symposium.”
Government through the Coffee Roadmap aims to accelerate coffee exports from the current 4.6 million (60kg) bags per year to 20 million (60 kg) bags by 2025.
However, while the country is considered a major coffee supplier on the world stage, Uganda’s coffee does not feature in the world’s 15 top value earning coffee exporting countries.
“Uganda Coffee Development Authority is determined to move Uganda’s position from just a top African producer to a top global exporter of premium coffee,” says, Dr Emmanuel Iyamulemye, Managing Director of UCDA.
“We believe that partnering with the tourism fraternity in this symposium, will enable us achieve this target sooner rather than later,” he adds.
Coffee Tourism involves linking coffee farmers to consumers under a farm-to-cup approach, with consumers touring farms and sharing their experience with the farmers. The feedback from the tourists aids in increased production of high quality coffee and hence boosts returns.
Renowned coffee and tourism expert, Mr Glenn Jampol, the President and co-owner of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Resort and a renowned international sustainable tourism expert from Costa Rica and Ms Judy Kepher-Gona, a travel and tourism expert from Kenya will be key speakers at the symposium slated for 6 December in Kampala.
At least 180 delegates and 20 exhibitors are expected at the inaugural event, including tour operators, coffee farmers, hoteliers and others involved in the hospitality and coffee industry. It will provide an opportunity for these stakeholders to meet, establish business relationships, and discuss coffee tourism opportunities and ways to improve business.