Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is honoured to host you all, at this refreshed Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2020 from the 4-6 of February 2020 at this magnificent lakeside Speke Resort Munyonyo. The last 2 decades have seen significant investments especially in the hospitality sector with domestic, regional and international hospitality chains setting up shop in the country. Specifically, we have seen home-grown brands improve in footprint, size and of rating.
The last 20 years have also seen an explosion of high-end lodges within and on the peripheries of national parks. Perhaps most interesting to know is that over 95% of the hotels are owned by Private Sector and of these, 75% are owned by domestic private players, 13% by other African private players and 7% are owned by other international players. It is therefore important that we focus on attracting more visitors- domestically, regionally and internationally (volumes) and get them to stay longer (value). This is not only good for the investors, but it is also good for the economy, especially that 90% of the employment in the tourism industry, is in the hospitality sector.
The sector employs mainly 77% of youth (18 – 30yrs) of age and slightly more women (58%). This is therefore why POATE is of strategic – which important to UTB and Uganda as a whole. Those who attended the 4th edition of POATE, you will notice that POATE 2020 is now bigger- nearly twice the number of exhibitors and thrice the number of hosted buyers with a richer mix from African and overseas players. We also have players from emerging tourism markets- emerging for Africa, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, China- who thankfully are already our big trading partners.
This is a new era for POATE, new dawn. Similarly, a new dawn is upon us in Africa- especially the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFTA)- which will open up more markets and more skies and more opportunities to cooperate rather than compete.
AFTA will build on existing initiatives like the East African Tourist Visa to further enhance the value of tourism to Africa. To win in this new age, knowledge is going to be key which is why we have organised a number of knowledge and best practices sharing and networking sessions on key subjects as sustainable tourism development, sustainable tour operations & accommodation, accessibility within and to Africa, transport & connectivity and emerging global trends in tourism & hospitality.
It is our sincere hope, that this refreshed POATE, does create genuine and real business opportunities and set a foundation for even bigger things to come.