Uganda: Uganda Sings New Tune to Woo Tourists

Tourism officials in Uganda are turning to local musicians to promote some of the country’s destinations to local travellers. The move aims to revive the sector, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Uganda’s State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Godfrey Kiwanda said they were in talks with musicians and deejays through the Uganda Musician Association to come up with ways on how the entertainers can promote the tourism sector.

The minister said the government wants the artistes to use their platforms and influence to boost the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.

Apart from promoting the country through music, the authorities want the musicians themselves to start visiting particular destinations and film music videos there.

“We would like to work with the creative arts industry — the musicians and the deejays, to incorporate their works in domestic, regional and international tourism,” Mr Kiwanda said, adding: “Uganda is our country. Selling it is a collective responsibility and the best way to do this is as a team, because when Uganda grows, we all grow.”

During its domestic tourism campaign that kicked off last year, Uganda signed BET award winner Eddy Kenzo, who has a huge online following, as a tourism ambassador together with several other local socialites.

Last month, long distance runner and world champion Joshua Cheptegei was added to the list of tourism ambassadors.

Mr Kiwanda said his ministry together with players in the private sector will launch a nationwide competition for a catchy tourism theme song.

Doreen Katusiime, the Permanent Secretary in the Tourism ministry, said that before Covid-19, music was one of the biggest drivers of global tourism and so they could not overlook it as a powerful promotional tool.

She added that away from the songs, music festivals in the country will start being given higher priority because of the numbers they attract.

For instance, Uganda’s biggest music festival, Nyege Nyege, attracts thousands of revellers from around the world each year. Another is the Bayimba Cultural Festival.

“The impact of these music events on the local economy is massive and largely inclusive. The opportunities spread to all the stakeholders in the music value chain including the media, food and beverage, accommodation, clothes, transport, security and so many other micro jobs feeding into these events,” Ms Katusiime said.

Mugabi Claire, the head of marketing at the Uganda Tourism Board said that the board will, moving forward, put significant emphasis on the creative arts industry in packaging the country’s pristine eco-systems, scenic physical features, and water bodies, variety of flora and fauna species

“The music industry has big voices, big brands with millions of followers domestically, regional and internationally,” she said.