Up to 60% of tourists who visit Uganda come from Kenya, so the country’s Consulate General in Mombasa has called for new ways to work together to make the sector even more successful.
Amb. Paul Mukumbya, the Ugandan Consul General in Mombasa, said on Thursday at the Uganda-Kenya Coast Tourism Conference and Exhibition at Pride Inn Paradise Resort that close to 95,000 Kenyans visited Uganda just between January and March 2022. He said that they traveled to go to golf tournaments, rugby games, music festivals, and concerts.
Mukumbya said that the number of tourists could double in the next year if the people in charge of tourism in Uganda and Kenya worked together more.
“My sincere hope is that by the end of the conference and the fam trip, key tourism players in Uganda and the Kenya Coast will have built a strong foundation for working together,” he said.
As of 2021, 512,945 people came to Uganda for tourism. Out of these, 326,387 came from Kenya. This means that 63.63% of all people who came to Uganda came from Kenya.
At an event called the “Uganda-Kenya Coast Tourism Conference and Exhibition,” tourism leaders from Uganda and Kenya are gathering in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa. “Strengthening Networks, Synergies, and Diversity to Maximize Tourism Potential between Uganda and the Kenya Coastal Region” is the theme of the event.
Victor M. Shitakha, Chairman of the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA), said that the conference was historic because it was the first time that a regional tourism conference and business-to-business meeting were held on the Kenya Coast. He also said that this conference gives people a chance to talk in a structured way about how to develop Kenya Coast tourism and Uganda circuit so that foreign tourists in the area can visit both countries in one trip and cross-border tourism grows faster.
“As Kenya’s neighbor, Uganda is one of our most important trade and tourism markets in Africa. Both countries get along well with each other, which helps the economy of the region grow “he said.
“It is also important to note that both Kenya Coast and Uganda offer unique, memorable, and complementary experiences. I therefore call on the regional tourism stakeholders to seize the opportunity and work together to improve the regional tourism trade and investment,” Shitakha said.
This conference was put on by the Consulate General of the Republic of Uganda in Mombasa, along with the Uganda Tourism Association, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Uganda Airlines, the Uganda Tourism Board, the Kenya Coast Tourist Association, and the Counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale.
John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Regional Cooperation and Foreign Affairs, said at the same event that, “We can’t say enough about how important tourism is to our economies. It can’t be solved.”
Analysts say that once the tourism businesses in the two countries work together, these numbers could even go up.
On the list of things to do is also getting the Uganda Airlines route between Entebbe and Mombasa more known.
Notable attractions in Kenya’s coastal area include Fort Jesus, which was built between 1593 and 1596 on the orders of Portugal’s King Felipe II. The two countries are also great places to visit because of their safaris, beaches, and rich history.
Other places along the coast, especially in Kwale County, are the Baobab Beach Resort, The Residence at Leopard, Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa, and Kinondo Kwetu, all of which won awards at the World Travel Awards in Nairobi in 2022.
As if that were not sufficient, Kwale Governor Fatuma Mohamed Achani has stated that attempts are currently being made to create other attraction locations. Some of these places include Majimoto, Wasini Boardwalk, Shimoni and Fikirini caverns, and the First World War Memorial cemeteries at Mkongani.