In a bid to beat off cut throat competition among five star hotels for conference, hospitality and tourism business, Pearl of Africa Hotel is focusing on hosting and tapping into International Conference tourism this year.
According to the hotel Chairman Mohammed Hamid the new strategy the hotel will gain from providing conference accommodation and conference venue for the delegates.
“we at Pearl of Africa Hotel boast of unique accommodation and banquette services that are unique in Central Africa hence good for international conferences,” Mohammed said.
Pearl of Africa owned by City tycoon Mohammed Hamid has sunk over 100 million dollars investment into to hospitality industry and currently providing jobs to 1,000 Ugandans.
The development was disclosed on news years eve as the hotel hosted corporate dinner and magnificent concert attended by friends, relatives and business community.
Pearl of Africa and many other hotels
According to statistics from ministry of tourism Uganda has over 300 hotels and last year Uganda hosted over 1,500,000 tourists in the country.
According to official figures, tourism contributed up to US$1.35 billion into Uganda’s export basket in 2016, and was the single highest foreign exchange earner; contributing 23.5% of total exports.
Based on those figures, the tourism lobby; which has advocates on the powerful Presidential Advisory Committee on Budget (PACOB) and is supported by the chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, Amos Lugolobi, is lobbying for increased allocation of resources to sector agencies involved in promotion and marketing. They want the money allocated to the tourism sector in the 2018/19 budget raised from the current Shs16.4 billion to 29.5 billion – an increase of about 80%.
The tourism lobbyists cite the growing number of international visitors to Uganda, increased earnings, and sector contribution to the local job market.The officials say the tourism sector also employs 6% of Uganda’s labour force. This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services).
Over 30 tourism and travel companies
Significantly, however, the lobbyists cite tourism’s alleged contribution to national foreign exchange earnings. In one case, they say, over 30 tourism and travel companies that traveled to the ITB Berlin between March 9 and 11 were projected to clinch deals worth over Shs3 billion (Approx. US$1 million).
Most of these operators are funded by either the government or the donor community because, they say, they cannot afford to pay their way.
But, as such demands from the lobbyists increase, there is a growing rise in the number of questions about the authenticity of the tourism sector claims. Does tourism really contribute the money its promoters claim it does? How is the contribution of the tourism sector measured? Who actually benefits?
Statistics from government agencies like the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities show tourism revenues soared to Shs 5.1 trillion ($1.4bn) last year when the country attracted over 1.3 million international visitors.
Earnings from tourism are also said to have more than doubled. Between 2008 and 2016, for instance, annual sector earnings are said to have risen from US$540 million to $1.37 billion. That was 4.3% of GDP and 26% of exports.
The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities’ annual tourism sector performance report for financial year 2016/17, shows that tourism was Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner, bringing in US$1.4 billion.
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