The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is set to host the 5th annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2020, a tourism and travel trade exhibition which brings together regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies, and various players in the tourism trade to network and facilitate tourism business. The 3-day expo will run from February 4-6, 2020 and will be held at the Speke Resort in Munyonyo.
A statement from the desk of Sandra Natukunda, Senior Public Relations Officer of UTB reads in part: “POATE 2020 will integrate a business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) trade event format under the theme ‘Inspiring high value engagement to promote intra-Africa travel for leisure, business and adventure,’ aimed at raising Uganda’s profile as a preferred destination in the region and internationally.”
Launching the event, the Hon. State Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, noted the board’s focus on Intra-Africa travel. He said, “Tourism has long been advocated as an alternative strategy for economic development and social reconstruction. The focus on Intra-Africa travel during this expo and beyond is aimed to increase the number of African arrivals to Uganda. With the revival of … Uganda Airlines, regional connectivity is easier and this among others will allow for intra-Africa travel to thrive.”
UTB Board Chairman, the Hon. Daudi Migereko, noted that POATE was a strategic avenue to market and promote the country to a group of select hosted buyers in a broader goal to increase tourist arrivals to Uganda as per the UTB strategic plan. “Trade expos have been to drive high value engagement, and the focus on Africa is timely for Uganda given the recent interest of travelers on the continent, the chairman said.
Lilly Ajarova, the UTB CEO, said that POATE is one of the key strategies for the promotion of Uganda’s tourism in the region and across the world. The expo facilitates key linkages through hosted buyers between tourists and domestic tour operators. Furthermore, it allows Uganda to showcase directly to various groups of hosted buyers who play a key role in the increment of visitor arrivals.
“On a weeklong FAM trip, we shall host and showcase … hosted buyers to some of Uganda’s unique experiences and gems. and ensure a rich and memorable experience so they get a hands-on sense of Uganda as a tourist destination. Hosted buyers will include tour agents, travel media, hoteliers, among others, and over 70 hosted buyers are expected from Uganda’s key source markets such as Africa, North America, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, among others,” Ajarova noted.
The first 2 days of the event will constitute seminars and workshops, B2B meetings, and conferences while the last day will be open to the public for B2C engagements between the public and attending exhibitors and hosted buyers.
Commenting on the same, Pearl Horeau, the President of the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) said that the expo will present an exciting opportunity for the private tourism sector to network and develop their tourism and travel business directly.
The event returns after a year’s hiatus with private sector tour operators keen to ensure that UTB is able to attract a substantial number of hosted buyers considering there is limited time left for preparations.
At the launch, UTB received much-needed endorsement from the UTA president who said: “As [to the] private sector, we are positive about the potential business that POATE will bring to Uganda. The focus on the African market is a step in the right direction as the continent provides a number of opportunities for intra-travel trade evidenced by the number of African tourists coming to Uganda and other countries.”