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Tourism clusters to be launched as part of this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations

Written by editor

UGANDA (eTN) – In a bid to strengthen service delivery, Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities (MTWA) is developing a framework under which regional clusters are to be formed.

UGANDA (eTN) – In a bid to strengthen service delivery, Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities (MTWA) is developing a framework under which regional clusters are to be formed.

In a communique from the Ministry inviting representatives from the different regions to kick off this year’s World Tourism Day activities, a tourism cluster workshop has been scheduled for September 25 & 26, 2015 at Gracious Palace Hotel in the Lira district located in northern Uganda. The workshop is designed to develop capacity of the tourism clusters and to develop strategic work plans for implementation and in view of attracting funding.

Funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the workshop shall also benchmark best practices from the South African experience and identify unique sales propositions for each cluster.

According to John Sempebwa, Deputy CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), who is overseeing their development, clusters shall undertake tourism development programs including identifying new products and organizing exhibitions inter alia, a process that is currently ongoing around the respective clusters.

Criteria is centered on all-inclusiveness, democratic governance, free exit and free entry, registration as not-for-profit trusts, voluntary membership, an elected executive, an office, an account, an officer to run cluster matters, and a legal constitution.

Prior to the formation of clusters, the tourism ministry had helped districts develop a framework for District Wildlife Committees (DWCs) pursuant to The Uganda Wildlife Act 1996. However, with gaps at the district level, the responsibility has now been assigned to UTB.

At the moment, there are 11 clusters in the country that are recognized by the Tourism Ministry, namely Busoga, Buganda, Eastern, Acholi, Lango, West Nile, Bunyoro, Rwenzori, Kigezi, Gantone, and Ssese Islands.

So far the response has been positive, with several clusters identifying unique selling products ranging from bull fighting and imbalu (male circumcision), source of the Nile, and the little-known Ik tribe said to have a few words similar to Spanish in their dialect in the Eastern and Northeastern region of the Ssese islands on Lake Victoria, the Kabaka trail in the central region, mountain climbing, water experiences, gorilla tracking, agro tourism and culture in the western region, rock climbing, Sir Samuel and Florence Bakers trail, culture depicting Luo folklore of “the bead and the spear,” “dark tourism” in the northern region, and there is even talk of an Idi Amin trail where the late dictator who ruled Uganda in the 70s hails from.

Meanwhile, as part of their initiation into the cluster family, the Lango Tourism Cluster where the event is taking place, has organized a charity event dubbed the Ngeta Hill Challenge in aid of the Barlonyo women who were victims of atrocities during years of insurgency in northern Uganda.