Uganda, South Africa strengthen Deeper Ties in Tourism for Mutual Growth

By Emily Nagujja

Pretoria. The Uganda High Commission, alongside Uganda Airlines and Gauteng Tourism Board, convened Gauteng’s tourism leaders and travel agencies to enhance ties and spotlight Uganda’s tourism prospects. This occurred on December 7th 2023 to strengthen partnerships and promote Uganda’s tourism potential.

During the meeting, H.E. Paul Amoru, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda to the Republic of South Africa, emphasized the vital role of partnerships in highlighting Uganda’s appeal for business, education, family, and tourism. He thanked the attending tour and travel agencies for their close collaboration with the Uganda High Commission, contributing significantly to promoting Uganda as an attractive destination. H.E Paul Amoru expressed appreciation for the mutually beneficial relationship between the agencies and the High Commission, lauding their efforts in simplifying travel to and from Uganda. He highlighted their essential role as points of contact for foreign nationals and Ugandans engaged in various activities, including business, trade, investment, education, family, and tourism across Southern Africa. The High Commissioner assured unwavering support from the High Commission and pledged concerted efforts with Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs to streamline visa waivers for ordinary passport holders.

Ms. Karin Matodes, CEO of Uganda Airlines Johannesburg Office, warmly acknowledged the significant engagement from key individuals representing various tour and travel companies in South Africa. She ardently committed to collaborating closely with them to enhance service standards. This commitment involved liaising with the headquarters in Uganda to cater to requests for wide-body planes capable of accommodating larger luggage volumes, addressing travellers’ specific needs.

The CEO of the Gauteng Tourism Board expressed her gratitude towards Uganda Airlines and the Uganda High Commission in Pretoria for their combined efforts, seamlessly facilitating the operations of tour and travel agencies. The High Commissioner was presented with accolades for its adept handling of visa-related concerns impacting travellers to Uganda. The Gauteng Tourism Board also proffered suggestions, encouraging the High Commission to explore an extensive array of prospects aimed at amplifying tourism and investment ties between the two nations.

Representatives from travel agencies expressed deep gratitude for the High Commission and Uganda Airlines’ acknowledgement, emphasizing their unwavering commitment to advancing Uganda’s prominence as a premier destination. They earnestly urged both governments to expedite the visa waiver implementation, anticipating it would substantially facilitate and promote travel between the countries. Notably, concerns arose about Uganda Airlines’ inconsistent schedules and limited cargo capacity, prompting some passengers to opt for other carriers.

In response, Uganda Airlines assured participants that they would diligently address these concerns. They confirmed their commitment to improving schedule communication and working with the Uganda Airlines Board to introduce larger aircraft for the Johannesburg route. Exciting plans were also revealed, indicating potential flight expansions to other provinces and regions, including Cape Town, along with comprehensive strategies to enhance cargo capacity.

The event highlighted immense potential within Uganda’s tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors, expected to drive significant foreign exchange inflows. To maximize these opportunities, the High Commission aimed to expand collaborations and attract more tourists to Uganda. This joint effort received steadfast backing from Uganda Airlines, Gauteng Province, and the collective endeavours of travel agents. Addressing the raised concerns was notably vital to maintaining competitiveness within the region.

As Uganda strives to become a top-tier travel spot, the combined efforts of the Gauteng Tourism Board, travel agencies, Uganda Airlines, and the unwavering commitment of the High Commission stand poised to be a catalyst in propelling Uganda’s tourism sector to unprecedented growth.

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