Guests at the event.

In continued efforts to promote Uganda as a tourist destination, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Thursday hosted a cultural gala for UN delegates who are in the country for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Conference currently ongoing at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

The Gala held at the Ndere Cultural Center with also attracted government representatives, the media and other members of the public. It was meant to showcase the beauty of the Pearl of Africa through cultural performances, food, cuisine and true Ugandan hospitality so as to leave a lasting memory in the minds of the delegates for repeat visits after the conference.

Addressing delegates at the event, the UTB Marketing Manager, Ms. Claire Mugabi, said, “Uganda is a culturally diverse and rich country—a key selling point for us as a tourist destination. We wanted treat the delegates to a true Ugandan cultural experience at the Ndere Cultural Center. They enjoyed various cultural performances from different parts of Uganda, folklore, food and drink among others.”

Rose Malango, the UN resident coordinator extended her sincere gratitude to UTB for hosting the delegates to a delightful evening of beautifully choreographed cultural performances.

She said, “Uganda is truly an endowed country and the cultural experience we have reveled in today highlights the country as culturally diverse and rich but more than that, we were able to see art, unity and enjoy story telling. The delegates have seen Uganda in a way many has never seen or heard about.”

Uganda has a rich cultural diversity and is endowed with 64 tribes and language each with a distinct cultural heritage, history, language, food, dance, dressing, beliefs, customs, music and folklore. The country is also known for its food and cuisine punctuated with a wide variety of tropical fruit and organic food, its diversity but also has various uniqueness cultures observed as one moves from region to region.

“We hope that we can see repeat visits in big numbers by engaging delegates and other visitors who come to Uganda for conferences and events,” Ms. Mugabi said.

The vast majority of tourist arrivals in Uganda are continental visitors from African countries. In 2017, these constituted 80 percent of the total 1,402,409 arrivals for the year while overseas visitors/tourists made up 20 percent or 273,731 of the arrivals.

The tourism industry IN Uganda currently contributes 10 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP), making it the country’s leading foreign exchange earner. The industry contributes more than US $1.4b (Shs5.1 trillion) annually and is projected to earn the country the much needed forex of about Shs10 trillion (US $2.7 billion) by 2020.