The eighth edition of the “Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo” (POATE) organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has been launched, with a promise to attract its biggest ever audience.

POATE, scheduled for May 23rd to 25th, 2024, serves as a crucial platform to showcase Uganda’s tourism potential and foster collaboration among local and international stakeholders in the tourism sector.

The theme for the upcoming POATE is “Responsible Tourism,” reflecting a commitment to safeguarding Uganda’s rich natural heritage.

Martin Mugarra, the State Minister for Tourism, highlights the inclusive nature of the preparations, with a focus on incorporating insights from the private sector.

This approach aims to make POATE a collective responsibility and address concerns raised by stakeholders who felt excluded in the previous edition.

Minister Mugarra assures that the organizing committee for the 8th edition will comprise representation from every stakeholder, aiming to avoid past mistakes.

The theme “Responsible Tourism” emphasizes the need for the tourism industry to reassess strategies for wildlife habitat preservation—a crucial element for sustaining Uganda’s tourism sector.

A notable feature of POATE 2024 is the ban on single-use plastics at the venue, aligning with global environmental efforts.

Minister Mugarra applauds this decision, highlighting the integral connection between tourism and the environment, positioning Uganda as a responsible player in the sustainable tourism landscape.

The CEO of Uganda Tourism Board, Lilly Ajarova noted that the expo is organized by UTB to bring together all tourism stakeholders and other service providers along the tourism value chain to raise the profile of Uganda as a preferred destination both domestically, regionally and internationally.

The exposition gives participants practical knowledge of Uganda’s tourism offerings.

“POATE 2023 was a success with the 8th edition in 2024 posed to be bigger and better. The expo continues to provide huge business opportunities for local suppliers in the areas of events management, stand construction, production of promotional materials, tour guiding services, equipment hire, transportation, and accommodation among others,” she said.

The National Development Programme (NDP III) recognizes tourism as one of the priority sectors. In order to optimize the sector’s contribution to the socio-economic development, the UTB has put in place strategic interventions whose objective is to ensure substantial growth in tourism arrivals from the main core and emerging source markets.

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