Players in the tourism and travel industry have been advised to embrace new technology in order to boost their businesses and further develop the industry in the country.
Speaking at the 5th edition of the quarterly Vodafone PowerTalks held at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Derrick Sebbaale, the Chief Technical Officer of the 4G LTE service provider, said; “Uganda is fast becoming a leading tourism attraction globally and therefore SMEs in this sector will have to be more innovative and in tune with the current trends in order to benefit from the industry and better manage the challenges that come with such growth.”
Reports show that 15% of room nights are now being booked online on a mobile phone. Sebbaale challenged the stakeholders to consider investing more in technology and platforms that can serve as effective channels for pre-tour narratives about destinations, sites and the peoples & culture of Uganda.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, International tourist arrivals in Uganda grew by 5% between January and April 2016. This growth presents numerous opportunities for the tourism industry, however, without the application of technology to its processes, it risks remaining far behind and underexploited.
A 2010 poll from Eye for travel, a leading research company on Internet focused travel, indicates that 7 out of 10 travelers use the internet as their primary source of travel information resulting in almost half of the world’s travel being distributed and booked online.
The event was attended by over 250 Small and Medium Enterprise owners and managers in the tour and travel industry and presided over by a panel of discussants including; Amos Wekesa, the founder and CEO Great Lakes Africa Safaris; Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO Uganda Tourism Board, Kelley MacTavish Mungar, the Executive Director of Pearl of Africa Tours, Belinda Namutebi, the founding member of I’m So Uganda, #Ondaba, Phillip Kalibwami, the Director of Pearl Guide and Rosette Chantal Rugamba, the founder and Managing Director of Songa Africa based in Rwanda.
The event ended with Vodafone and its sponsors awarding four lucky participants with a return ticket to Abu Dhabi aboard Etihad Airways, two coupons for brunch at the Kampala Serena Hotel, one ticket for a hot air balloon experience with Dream Balloons and one ticket to the National Park with Pearl Guide.