Uganda Tourism Board plans to market Idi Amin Dada’s good side for purposes of tourism with an aim of increasing tourists numbers.
Idi Amin was Uganda’s president between February 1971 and January 1979. He came to power after toppling Milton Obote in a military coup. He died in August 2003 after his family decided to disconnect life support machines of which he had spent several months due to kidney failures in a Jeddah hospital in Saudi Arabia. He was buried in Ruwais Cemetery in Jeddah in a simple grave without any fanfare.
Apart from the bad things of Idi Amin, he did some good things. He is a popular figure globally that when you travel there they ask about him.
“He is still stuck in people’s minds. We shall develop a trail for him to market it for tourism purposes,” said Mr. Stephen Asiimwe the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board while making a presentation about their future plans to drive tourists to Uganda.
He said they have developed a domestic, regional and international strategy to market and promote Uganda’s tourism.
“In the domestic tourism strategy, we have a strong cluster support like the Buganda Tourism Expo, Busoga Tourism Initiative, Bunyoro, Kigezi, Eastern Tourism Forum, and Northern Uganda. Among other initiatives include the school outreaches, imbalu carnival, Idi Amin Trail; we’re to develop, Kampala Trail, Uganda Martyrs Day Festival, Cultural events, Kampala Carnival, Sports events like golf tournaments.These all have great potential to drive tourists’ numbers.”
In the regional tourism marketing strategy Asiimwe said they will target people from the neighboring EAC states, encourage excursions by regional tour operators, carry out media familiarization trips and do a lot of promotion on the social media. At the international scene Asiimwe hopes to challenge negative pre-visitor perceptions of famine, hunger and wars, engage international public relations firms in key source markets and engage buyers in international firms.
“We shall have road shows, share signature events like Kwita Izina, Magical Kenya, Karibu Festival through encouraging reverse travel and through the use of the EAC Tourist Visa and regional collaborations,” Asiimwe told a collection of private sector investors in tourism, government officials and parliamentarians at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
He said they will do fam trips with media companies and travel writers abroad to change perception such that they can have a first-hand feel of Uganda’s tourism, work out collaborations with embassies, foreign missions abroad and participation in international tourism fairs.
In the quality assurance division, Asiimwe said they will ensure that all private investors in the sector are licensed and registered; they will enforce and monitor standards while carrying out inspection, grading, classification of tourist facilities and standards.
“To ensure investment promotion, we shall create a tourism investment portfolio with all the benefits that will accrue on Returns on Investments, identify special economic and investment zones and engage government agencies like Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Investment Authority to remove red tape.”