Gulu - Linking cultures and travel had never been a point of interest like it was during this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations. At the event, tourism, travel, culture and Northern Uganda were yoked together as the crowds drew to commemorate the day together with Uganda Tourism Board, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage and all tourism fraternity.
Internationally, 27th September was delimitated to celebrate the role tourism plays as one of leading key sectors in the world economy. Under the theme “Tourism – Linking Cultures, community initiatives to preserve and promote Uganda’s cultural heritage”, this year’s celebrations in Uganda were held in Gulu (Taks Centre), as part of the efforts to revamp the region and create public awareness about the potential Northern Uganda has in attracting tourists.
As the Guest of honor, Third Deputy Prime Minister Rtd. Brig. Hon. Moses Ali was astonished by the amazing artifacts, cultural shows, dances and wildlife exhibits at the celebration. In his speech, Brig. Moses Ali commended the good work the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage and Uganda Tourism Board was doing in revitalizing northern Uganda by uplifting the region’s tourist attractions including Fort Patiko among others. In addition, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu encouraged more diffusion of cultures, attractive inventions and linkages to draw more tourists both local and international, to Northern Uganda.
In his speech, the Chairman Uganda Tourism Board, Mr. William Byaruhanga embraced the vast wealth and tourism potential northern Uganda holds. “The monuments and cultural dances need to be utilized to create more employment opportunities” he said.
Culture covers over 80 percent of the tourist attractions in Uganda. This is evidenced by the myriad cultural shows, dances, art and crafts, foods and beverages, ceremonies and historical sites around Uganda, which attract over two thirds (2/3) of tourists.
Summary of Events
Between 23 and 27 – Gulu residents were mesmerized by a consortium of exhibitors set to showcase their products to the natives and attendees of the World Tourism Day celebrations. With amusement, the People of northern Uganda joined to resume the long awaited event depicting the region as a peaceful, welcoming and attractive center for both national and international communities.
25th September: The painting of zebra crossing and cultural exhibition Along Kampala – Post office – Nuru road, the RDC of Gulu MR. Oworo Odoi, Mr. Muzahura Edwin, the Head of Marketing, Uganda Tourism Board, Mr. Boniface Byamukama, the chairman AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and the Deputy Mayor, Gulu district commenced the painting of the zebra crossing which was followed by an extraordinary cultural show of dances which entertained the crowds at the exhibition centre.
26th September: The launch of Patiko open tourism (Northern Uganda Slave Trade Tourist Trail) As part of the World Tourism Day celebrations, Honorable Ministers; Hon. Agnes Akiror, Minister of State for Tourism and Hon. Betty Bigombe, Minister of state for Water, launched the Slave Trade Tourist Trail which starts at Fort Patiko to Pako, Wadilayi, Nimule to South Sudan. Patiko, which stretches from Ajuru northwards to Ladyong , sakara and Lwabonono, filled with piled up rocks which form a beautiful view of the area, is well known for having been a slaves collection centre for the Arabs way back in the 19th century. The high-pitched rocks, open ground (used as a courtyard), and the beautiful view of all hills around, places Patiko as one of a must visit monument while in Northern Uganda.
27th September, World Tourism Day Under the theme Linking cultures and Travel, the long awaited day started with a march from Kaunda grounds through Gulu city to Taks Centre. The march which involved the Second Deputy Prime minister and Deputy leader of Government, Rtd. Brig. Moses Ali, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu (Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage), Hon. Agnes Akiror, Hon. Betty Bigombe, Woman MP, Gulu, Chairman, Executive Director and Manager PR, Uganda Tourism Board, Executive Director, Uganda Wildlife Authority, the chairman AUTO, representative Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association, aroused national awareness and publicized the potential northern Uganda has in attracting tourists to the country.
The commemoration greatly co-joined the diplomats, tourism fraternity and the people of northern Uganda to uplift their awareness, that tourism is one of the most benefitial sectors to the country.
This year’s celebrations in Northern Uganda were burgeoning from previous years organized in Kasese (2008), Entebbe (2009), and Jinja (2010). Next year’s World Tourism Day is expected to be in Soroti.