Uganda moves to tap into China to grow the country’s tourism numbers with a potential of more than 500,000 visitors per annum. The country aims to use her cultures and kingdoms to attract Chinese tourists.
Through the aid of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda hired PHG Consulting-China – a market destination representative – to sell Uganda’s tourism in the world’s second-largest economy. The firm which had started work recently has begun training of local tour operators on how they can help to lure visitors from the Asian source market.
While speaking at the launch of the training yesterday in Kampala, the country’s capital, Ms. Catherine Mei, the PHG Consulting-China travel sales director said that Uganda is a unique country and her organization wants to promote it in China as soon as possible. They intend to achieve this by bringing Chinese tourists to enjoy the wildlife safaris and Uganda’s authentic culture.
According to her, almost every year, more than 500,000 Chinese tourists travel to Africa. Many of these Chinese spend more than what those from other sources of markets like Europe and North America usually spend. More than 149.7 million tourists traveled out of the country in 2018 to different destinations. It is noteworthy that this number increased from 131 million in 2017.
The UTB chairman, Mr. Daudi Migereko said during his speech that it was important that the tour operators strive to understand the budgets and what compels the Chinese.
“Our mission is to increase the current tally of visitors from 1.6 million. And we believe that tapping into the Chinese market will help make the aspired number a reality”, he said.
In the last five years, Uganda has engaged international firms to market the country. They have strived to market Uganda in North America and Europe, as well as German-speaking countries. Now the focus is on China, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan.
However, UTB stressed at the launching that Uganda only needs to promote culture and biodiversity to the Chinese market in other to lure the Chinese people. The claim was seconded by research contained in different surveys conducted by PHG Consulting-China. The UTB Chief Executive Officer Ms. Lilian Ajarova said, “One of the main products the Chinese are interested in is Uganda’s Culture and Kingdoms. It very important we adhere to their taste if we are to lure them here”.
“Tooting, Bunyoro, and Buganda are well-organized and classical Kingdoms. If we work in handy, we will be able to offer a perfect product for the Chinese market. Daily, more and more Chinese middle class are investing in real estates, big-ticket consumer items, and international travel. This is the type of market Uganda is targeting”, she added.
However, Ms. Ajavora cautioned tour operators and trainees to take advantage of the training and learn how to package the right products that meets the requirements of the Chinese market.