By Juliet Hildah Namulundu.
Kampala Serena hotel was awarded Uganda’s leading hotel in the 2017 Annual World Travel Awards Africa. The winners were announced at a glittering ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, in Kigali-Rwanda yesterday 10th October, 2017.
World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry and these are organized annually.
Uganda got more four awards in the categories of Uganda’s leading Safari Lodge- Nkuringo Bwindi Gorrila Lodge, uganda’s Leading Tented Safari Camp- Sanctuary Gorrila Forest Camp, Uhanda’s leading Hotel suite- Presidential Suite @ Lake Victoria Serena Resort and Uganda’s Leading Car Rental Company- Roadtrip Uganda.
However, Uganda did not get any award at the continental level in comparison to her other East African Counterparts like Kenya and Tanzania who got so many other awards. In East Africa, Kenya got the highest number of over 12 awards among which are; Africa’s Leading Airline 2017-Kenya Airways, Africa’s Leading Airline – Business Class 2017-Kenya Airways, Africa’s Leading Tourist Board among others.
This clearly shows the state of Uganda’s Travel and Tourism industry that is seriously lacking given the fact that we are the Pearl of Africa. Uganda has got many tourism opportunities that have not been well developed which has affected the country’s economic growth.
International airlines, such as Kenya Airways, Egyptian Airways, Ethiopian Airways, South African Airways, Emirates, Etihad, fly Dubai, SN Brussels, KLM, Turkish Airways, Qatar Airways, and RwandAir, continue to dominate the country and have regular flights in and out of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport but with no national airline as a country.
Never the less, according to the Uganda Tourism Board report of 2016, the Ugandan tourism sector continues to grow and saw $805 million in revenues in 2011 and $834 million in 2012. About 1.3 million tourists visited Uganda in 2015—a slight increase from 1.26 million in 2014. Uganda’s tourism sector contributed about 10 percent to Uganda’s GDP in FY 2014/2015, becoming the country’s top earner of foreign exchange. Uganda’s tourism sector is highly sensitive to negative publicity from other parts of the African continent, with news of disease outbreaks or political instability anywhere on the continent negatively affecting Uganda’s tourism numbers.