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041 4342196 utb@utb.go.ug

UTB CEO Ajarova unveils plans for POATE 2024 with emphasis on Sustainable Tourism

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Lilly Ajarova has clarified the intricacies of sustainable tourism, as a cornerstone of the upcoming Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE 2024)

Ajarova expounded the multifaceted nature of sustainability which encompasses environmental, economic and social considerations. This, she said, includes fostering growth, ensuring future viability, preserving flora and fauna, sustaining businesses, and enhancing the well-being of the population.

 She made this clarification during the Stakeholder Engagement Cocktail for POATE 2024 Sponsors at Four Points by Sheraton on April 9th, 2024. The event, organized by UTB served as a precursor to the 8th edition of POATE which will unfold from 23rd to 25th May 2024 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The Stakeholder Engagement Cocktail aimed to foster collaboration, communication and relationship-building among the various stakeholders involved in the event.

It was warmly embraced by representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, wildlife and Antiquities, partners from government institutions like the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), corporate partners, media partners, conservation partners, representatives of the board and the sponsorship subcommittee of the national organizing committee of POATE

With specific attention to the theme of “Responsible tourism,” Ajarova meticulously detailed the event’s structure, objectives, and the overarching emphasis on sustainability within the tourism sector.

“The theme of POATE is responsible tourism. Sustainable tourism is what we are talking about. We want all businesses to be sustainable; sustainability is not about the natural environment, not just about waste management, not just about plastic. It includes the aspect of economics, the businesses have to grow and continue on and on for generations,” she said.

She noted that POATE 2024 will embed 70 hosted buyers, 50 of them for leisure, 10 for MICE or business tourism, those who are coming to look at the facilities for conferences, meetings, events, and 10 of them will be the international media.

 Highlighting the immense opportunities for hospitality establishments with conference facilities to showcase their offerings, Ajarova remarked, “The hotel owners with conference facilities have an opportunity to showcase what they have to offer.”

 She further highlighted the immense opportunities the event will offer to different tour operators and lodges in different regions of Uganda, stating, “For the tour operators and lodges in different places around the country, these hosted buyers will want to experience what Uganda has to offer.”

Ajarova intricately outlined the detailed itinerary for the hosted buyers, elucidating, “We will have the hosted buyers arriving on the 17th of May. Then on the 18th at six o’clock, we’ll put them on the safari vehicles. And we will have them divided into six groups with specific product interests so they will go across the country to experience different things.”

In her address, Ajarova also highlighted the inclusivity of the expo, stating that the event will seek to build mechanisms to get all sections of people from all regions of Uganda benefit and participate in the country’s tourism sector,

“Everyone must be part of it. And we have always said tourism is everyone’s business. You’re either investing in it or you’re enjoying it so everyone is part of tourism in this country, how much is Karamoja involved? How much is Gulu city involved in tourism. How much is Kisoro, Rukungiri we want everyone to be part of this because we are such a rich country with diversity that any point that you step on in this country, there is an opportunity for tourism development” 

She advocated for a holistic approach to tourism development, ensuring that marginalized groups and people with special needs are actively involved and benefit from tourism initiatives.

Pearl Kakooza Hoareau, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors at UTB emphasized the significance of the sponsor support for POATE, during her address at the event. She underscored POATE as a flagship event for tourism in Uganda, akin to other countries’ signature events like Magical Kenya.

“We look to you for your generosity to sponsor the signature event POATE, Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo is actually the signature event for tourism Uganda,” Stated Hoareau.

She highlighted the importance of sponsor contributions in making POATE a success, urging attendees to consider sponsorship or participation as exhibitors.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE 2024) marks a significant step towards responsible tourism and inclusive development in Uganda’s vibrant tourism sector, promoting sustainable practices and equitable opportunities within the tourism industry.

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