UTB is helping Cheap Hotels in Uganda to fast track the growth of tourism.

The Uganda Tourism Board – UTB is carrying out a massive registration of the tourism industry players in Uganda in order to boast the sector.

The activity is planned to last until December, according to the board officials. To achieve the activity goal, UTB has partnered with Local governments in Uganda through the district commercial officers who will help in sensitization, coordination and enrollment of hotel service providers onto the UTB quality assurance portal. Hotel owners and tour operators are also encuraged to enroll on their own before a team from UTB or District commercial office do a site visit to verify if the venture meets the minimum tourism standards in Uganda in order to receive a UTB license.

“The future of tourism after the pandemic is automated. We can’t compete if we still operate hotels in a traditional way”

John Ssendagire, CEO Cityside Tours and Travel

UTB is also yet to recruit district tourism officers in order to improve service provision at the grass roots. The district commercial officers being used as agents at the moment are attached to the Trade & Industry ministry.The massive registration exercise will also involve training of tourism service providers at village levels in order to improve the hospitality industry in Uganda.The coming of online hotel booking platforms like Tulavo, Airbnb, Booking.com among others has also improved the visibility of hotels in Uganda thereby easing the booking process.

According to Nsangi Mara, the Chief of Operations at Tulavo, more small hotel owners are now seeing the need to manage their inventories through online tour operators. Mara noted that since Tulavo joined the market in 2019, over 1,000 small hotels in Uganda have since partnered with them and listed their rooms on the platform. The numbers, she says, started increasing in 2021 and has since continued to go up due to what she termed as the need to recover the tourism industry during post covid.

John Ssendagire, the Managing Director of Cityside Tours and Travel said that the hotel industry in Uganda is one of the sectors which received adverse effects of the pandemic. Ssendagire who owns a series of hotels in Uganda advised other hotel owners to consider automation in order to attract the attention of travelers coming to Uganda.

“The future of tourism after the pandemic is automated. We can’t compete if we still operate hotels in a traditional way” Ssendagire advised.

During the covid pandemic, some hotels and Guesthouses closed due to unpaid bank loans and the lack of guests. Post pandemic data however records an improve in the number of arrivals in Africa which is a positive trend towards the recovery of the tourism sector. The figures are however still low compared to that of pre-pandemic season.

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