World over, tourism remains one of the most lucrative invisible businesses that have weathered across several storms to elevate countries and individuals alike.
The tourism sector is a major driver of employment, investment and foreign exchange, contributing 4.9 trillion Ugandan shillings (US$1.88 billion or €1.4 billion as of August 2013) to Uganda’s GDP in the financial year 2012-13.
Given that rich background, the tourism industry is a treasure and jealously guarded.
The latest appointment of athletics star Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei, the current world 5KM, 10,000M and 5000M record holder is clear justification that the Government of Uganda through the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is keen on promoting destination Uganda beyond the boarder-line of the country that was christened as the “Pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston ChurchHill.
Churchill made the remarks in his popularized book which he wrote down in the 1908”My African Journey’ as he talked of the magnificence, color, life, birds, reptiles, insects, beasts, mammals, and vegetations.
Uganda Tourism Board officially named Cheptegei as the ambassador for a year long tenure during a well-attended event held on the terraces of the famous 19th hole at the historic Uganda Golf Course in Kampala on Wednesday, 10th February 2021.
The event was graced by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Retired Colonel Tom Butime, Chairman Board of Directors Eddie Kirya, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Uganda Tourism Board Lilly Ajarova and a bee hive of journalists across the board.
In his humble acceptance speech, Cheptegei expressed gratitude upon the latest appointment.
I am humbled by this huge responsibility of being appointed as ambassador of Uganda Tourism. I accept it with humility. More and more Ugandans will be praying for me to win. Every win is not just for me but for every Ugandan. I was born and raised in the mountainous areas. I look forward to sharing my Ugandan story to the world.Joshua Cheptegei
Joshua Cheptegei is a sports celebrity and a star. He is a Ugandan and we are not hiring him from anywhere. I congratulate him for the feat of accepting this very heavy responsibility of the being the country and tourism ambassador. He will be tasked to promote Destination Uganda.Retired Colonel Tom Butime, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities
According to Ajorova, UTB and Cheptegei signed a one year partnership that leverages his stardom for both domestic and foreign based tourists with the prime objective at hand being the promotion of Destination Uganda.
UTB will support his preparations for events at domestic and international levels, they will brand Cheptegei and his team domestically and internationally, conduct tourism training, manage his social media pages, facilitate in-land travels while on tourism duties, pay for the boat rides, birding and gorilla tracking.
In return, Cheptegei will be marketing and promoting Uganda as a preferred tourism, promote destination Uganda, authorize UTB to use his image and UTB will use Cheptegei international network to encourage them visit Uganda.
Tourism is bent on the five A’s – Attraction, Accommodation, Amenities, Accessibility and Awareness. The first four are the bed rock of the tourism industry with awareness the galvanizing aspect. It has not doom and gloomy after a troublesome 2020 Upcountry hotels had increase in the level of occupancies. On my behalf, I wish to thank all the Ugandans who have been traveling to the different parts of the country. We vow to make domestic travel worthwhile. We have undertaken several procedures like safety SOP’s for safe re-opening, sanitizing and training operators on new SOP’s.Lilly Ajarova, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Uganda Tourism Board
Cheptegei will depart the country in the next 12 hours for Monaco in France for the 5KM race slated for this Sunday, 14th February 2021.
He will work alongside Eddie Kenzo, multiple award winning music star, also a tourism ambassador from the entertainment circles.