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They urge the Government to promote business events

The Ugandan government has been urged to promote business tourism, specifically Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), to boost its economy.

Glenton De Kock, CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (Saaci), made the call during the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo at Speke Resort Munyonyo on May 23.

“The meetings industry is a key element in advancing the economy by acting as a vehicle for business, professional and academic communities to achieve collaboration, innovation and dissemination of information,” said Mr Glenton.

“The activities of the meetings industry are a significant element in the future growth of the global economy, an essential part of the dissemination of knowledge and a key factor in building better understanding and relationships between different cultures and regions.”

Glenton emphasized that Uganda can benefit from the incremental direct spending of delegates and organisers, which flows not only to the hospitality sector but also to other sectors such as restaurants, transport and local retail.

He added that the business tourism exhibition provides support for further investment in visitor infrastructure based on overall increasing visitor demand, extending seasonality and expanding the visitor base.

“Economically, you are not only sitting on gold but also platinum, allowing you to bring more people to your country and in doing so, you are allowing greater socio-economic impact to occur within your communities, and you have a prosperous destiny that can do it effectively,” Mr. Glenton said.

David Sand, CEO of Uwin Iwin Performance Incentives and former President of SITE, highlighted the importance of proper packaging to benefit from business events.

“There are two aspects to designing: one is what happens before (visitors) arrive at the destination and what happens during the experience, because you have to do both well,” Sand said.

Highlighting the diverse cultures and natural resources of Uganda, Ms. Lilly Ajarova, Executive Director of the Uganda Tourism Board, said: “Uganda is known for its diverse cultures and is endowed with all the therapies that tourists need.”

However, he noted that marketing a tourist destination is different from marketing meetings and conventions.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo, which runs from May 23 to 25, has attracted more than 500 exhibitors from across Africa, showcasing the country’s potential for business tourism.

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