State Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, today launched the 5th edition of Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards with a call on stakeholders in the tourism industry to rethink the sector’s importance and individual stakeholders who have contributed to the sector.
Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards is a Private Sector driven tourism initiative passionate in promoting tourism in Uganda through Training, Recognising, Awarding and Subsequently Motivating key stakeholders in the Tourism Industry annually.
The Award ceremony will take place on 1st December 2022 at Sheraton Hotel, with special focus on the Sustainable Development Goals – Journey to 2030 on how tourism sector can contribute towards the implementation and achievement of the 17 SDGs; aiming to inspire governments, policymakers and tourism companies to incorporate relevant aspects of the SDGs into policy and financing frameworks as well as business operations and investments.
Currently, the awards are running on their 5th Edition after a spell of two years due to COVID 19 restrictions.
Justifying the theme for this years’ event: “Rethinking tourism and Promotion of Green initiatives,” minister Mugarra said there are numbers of unsung heroes who have lifted Uganda’s flag so high and hence promoted our beautiful nation to levels of being among the most sought-after tourism destination.
These, he said, include Sportsmen and women who directly or indirectly paint promote Uganda; the music artists using music as a medium of tourism promotion, Writers, Photographers, and Investors, the guides who interface with tourists, and the journalists like you who are here among others.
“Recognising and appreciating such stakeholders will motivate more to be patriotic and promote the pearl of Africa in different styles that appeal to different people globally.” he said.
The Minister said such initiatives will increase the quality of service and encourage healthy competition in the industry and it’s from this background that Africa Tourism and Environment Initiatives quality assurance project ,Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards is set to recognise the best performing stakeholders of the tourism industry.
Globally, tourism is a weighty field of consumption and a powerful service sector that contributes about ten percent to the world’s GDP. Sustainable consumption and production patterns are central to sustainable tourism. It is also one of the world’s fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment, while being closely linked to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of many countries, especially developing countries.
Unlike the previous awarding ceremonies, this years’ Ekkula Tourism awards will involve regional quality assurance and sustainability training workshops, intended to improve service delivery by impacting basic tourism skills across the value chain. The first regional expo will take place on the 14th of October 2022 in Mbale, moving to Gulu on the 21st of October 2022, and then on the 28th 0f October in Fort portal the tourism city and wrapping the regional workshops in Kampala on the 04th of November. Top participants from each region will then be invited in an in-depth national tourism training hub.
Even though the country is yet facing another trial, of the Ebola Outbreak, the ministet said he is rather delighted about a decleration from the ministry of health that Uganda is SAFE for all National and International travellers within the country. MOH PS Dr. Diana Atwine recently said places for conferences, workshops, tourist attraction including national parks are safe for both local and international tourists. She noted that the current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the Country is under control and anybody with a plan to travel to Uganda are encouraged to continue with their travel plans.
“As we pride ourselves in our country’s natural endowments, we look forward to celebrating together networking and forging better ways of improving where we have not performed to the fullest.
I am pleased to announce therefore; The Launch of the Fifth Edition of Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards 2022.
Ladies and gentlemen, I officially declare nominations for the Categories open as per the set criteria and I Look forward to seeing more of you participate in the Tourism Industry as the opportunities are endless and enormous.” he remarked.