H.E. Edward Ssekandi the Vice President of Uganda is received at the exhibition by our PR & Membership Services Officer Jonathan Benaiah

Gulu Town, Uganda

World Tourism Day Celebrations take place annually on the 27th September.

In Uganda the weeklong celebrations brought tourism stakeholders together to engage in several activities like the Annual Tourism sector review conference, tourism school debates and quizzes, tree planting exercises, and the Annual Tourism Sports Gala in which the Association of Uganda Tour Operators emerged victor, taking home the trophy for the best sporting tourism organization in Uganda for the second consecutive year.

This year’s World Tourism Day edition was climaxed in the capital of Northern Uganda, Gulu Town at Pece Stadium; and like the rest of the world, it was celebrated under the theme: “Tourism And Jobs: A Better Future For All”.

The Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Edward Ssekandi was the Chief Guest at the ceremony which featured an exhibition of the lands and peoples of Uganda in many forms including dance, drama, music and food from the country’s diverse cultural clusters.

The event had speeches from various dignitaries including the Minister of Tourism Professor Ephraim Kamuntu, H.E. Henk Jan Bakker the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as well as the united Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Ms. Elsie G. Attafuah; crowned by State remarks from H.E. the Vice President of Uganda.

“As tourism continues to affirm its position as the fastest growing global sector and a pillar sector in our economy, we will continue to work to ensure that the benefits trickle down to all Ugandans. We must also encourage our citizens to love and promote their country,” H.E. Ssekandi commented at the event.

As professionalism, stewardship, teamwork being some of its core values, Uganda’s leading trade tourism association the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) mobilized and encouraged its members to participate in the celebrations.

The day before, members of AUTO had driven for about 6 hours from Kampala to Gulu District. It was a wonder to some of them who had never been to Gulu, that a town in northern Uganda could mirror similar developments found in the Capital City, Kampala.

Restaurants welcomed the team with delicious Ugandan cuisine. “Do you have ghost meat?” comedic members openly joked with the waitresses as they ordered for goat’s meat, pasted groundnut sauce and some of the local delicacies like “Boo” (pronounced “Bo”) from this part of Uganda.

The team of tour operators also participated in a nature walk to the thrilling and unforgettable Aruu Falls; a natural highlight on any Gulu tour. Visiting in the rainy season was a blessing since the water levels were very high and the falls were more magnificent than they often appear in photos and videos.

As is the contemporary statement, “tourism has a very high multiplier effect”, and the restaurants, hotels, markets, bars and tourist sites in Gulu earned a great deal from the visiting delegates that week.

The CEO of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators, Ms. Gloria Tumwesigye, on behalf of the Board management of AUTO, congratulated the global travel industry upon a successful World Tourism Day and she called upon all stakeholders to play their roles in creating avenues through which many more people can benefit from the tourism sector along its wide-ranging value chain for sustainable tourism development.