Ugandan tourism sees opportunities in Nigeria

Ekene Okafor, Lagos

Nigeria’s population of over 170m people offers the opportunity as a major market for tourist travels to Uganda.

That is according to Uganda’s Acting ambassador to Nigeria, Nelson Ocheger ,one of the participants at AKWAABA 2016, an event that attracted over 13 countries and stakeholders in the tourism and travel industry in Africa.

“Nigeria is a very big country and the people are at different levels of economic development. We have the high class, middle class and lower class. All these classes have a potential to travel in one way or another,” he said.

Uganda was one of many African countries represented at this year’s Akwaaba Africa tourism expo in Lagos. The Ugandan tourism stand featured for the first time since Akwaaba started in Lagos 12years ago.

The ambassador said: “Now time has come for us in Uganda to interest the people of Nigeria to appreciate what we have to offer, and time has also come for the people of Nigeria to interest us in Uganda on what Nigeria has to offer.”

The ambassador indentified intra-Africa tourism as a potential source for trade and investments within the continent.

“A tourist who comes from Nigeria to Uganda at the end of the day, is not only going to eat the food we have and see tour wildlife, animals, but he will come back with some Ugandan products: the coffee, tea clothing etc. And the same applies to a Ugandan who visits to Nigeria. That way trade and investments can follow.”

According to statistics from international trade bodies, over 80% of Africa’s exports are shipped overseas, mainly to the European Union (EU), China and the US. But facilitating greater intra-African trade, according to the World Bank, will not only boost trade performance – but could have a strong impact on poverty reduction.

The ambassador believes intra African tourism could encourage more intra-African trade which remains low at the moment.

“That is why we calling upon all the stakeholders, especially those who are really true Africans; this is the time for us to come together and begin promoting intra-African tourism, intra African trade and investment. That way we shall be able to come up with African solutions to Africa challenges and together we shall get our people out of poverty,” he concluded.