POATE hosted buyers in Kibale Forest National Park last year

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) is set for February 23-25,  Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the agency mandated to promote tourism activities in Uganda, says.

POATE is an annual event organized by UTB to bring together all tourism stakeholders and other service providers along the tourism value chain from both the East African region and the international community.

Under the theme ‘Rediscovering the Pearl’, POATE, now in its fourth edition, is aimed at raising the profile of Uganda as a preferred destination for domestic, regional and international tourists.

POATE brings together different travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, destination managers and other service providers along the tourism value chain, presenting a unique opportunity for the tourism business operators across Africa to meet new clients, network, and market and discuss business.

UTB officials say POATE is a good opportunity for those interested in leisure, business or educational travel, sports, adventure and entertainment.

“This will be a good opportunity to link up with the best operates in the different areas that appeal to; adults, youths and children,” reads a brief on the about the event.

“The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) will attract international hosted buyers from Europe, the Americas (North & South America), Africa, Australia and Asia,” it adds.

The event, according to organizers will also provide a platform of Business to Business engagements for tourism travel trade regionally, locally and internationally. Among others, it will also showcase, with special focus, the Ugandan product offering from the diverse bird life to the Big 7, adventure tourism, primates, culture tourism and much more.

Last year exhibitors representing airlines, hotel chains, safari lodges, tour operators, travel agencies, restaurants and regional tourism clusters attended.

Over 100 buyers and media from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Russia, among others were invited to attend and participate at the Expo. Also invited were participants from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Nigeria among others.

Safie Ali, UTB’s Senior Marketing officer and coordinator said some time back  that, “POATE is a must attend for the professional who wants to better understand tourism and key industry issues that can fundamentally impact their business – and that can help position them more competitively in their own market. We look forward to meeting with some of the hosted buyers next week.”

Visitor exports are a key component of the direct contribution of Travel and Tourism in Uganda and in 2016, Uganda generated Shs2, 592.9bn in visitor exports, an amount was expected to grow by 23.0% in 2017.The country expected to attract 1,459,000 international tourist arrivals in the same year.