Tourist numbers from the 20 North American (USA and Canada) tour operators’ directly selling Uganda leisure travel packages has more than doubled from 394 in 2015 to 956 in 2016.
The survey was carried out in January 2017 on firms selling leisure packages.On average, luxury packages may start from $2300 per person for 8 days.
The rise in numbers is largely due to the increased marketing efforts by Uganda Tourism Board through the North American public relations and travel trade representation firm, PHG Consulting. Engaged in May 2016, PHG Consulting has been promoting Uganda to the North American market through strategic direct sales and marketing efforts, public and media relations; and integrated promotions.
“In 2015, we had no Uganda offerings, as interest was low,” says one leading North American tour operator “That changed in 2016, when we had more than 50 bookings.”
He says they have now added in more itinerary options that include Uganda and have included Uganda in their marketing efforts because of the growing interest in the destination. The sustained growth has been experienced across the board by other operators as well. In some case, operators have seen sales to Uganda triple in number.
A separate operator surveyed reported that their numbers rose from 80 to 250 from 2015 to 2016. Yet another American tour operator in the luxury category participated in a familiarization trip to Uganda, and has since increased sales from 18 trips to 62 trips, with this number anticipated to rise to 90 in 2017.
“To remain competitive, we must keep the fire burning working through the PR firms,” says Stephen Asiimwe the CEO Uganda Tourism Board. “The numbers are beginning to show since we began promoting Uganda in the North America market. This too is happening in the other markets in the UK and Europe.”
Over the last week, UTB has taken a group of ten tour operators and four journalists on a tour of Uganda.
Some of the journalists report for media houses like Vogue.com, CNN, and National Geographic among others. The teams have had cultural experiences, participated in wildlife focused activities, and visited accommodations and tourism attractions around the country.