UTB’s Marketing Manager, Claire Mugabi

The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has revealed that the 2021 Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) is set to revive the country’s tourism industry amidst Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month UTB launched the 6th Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE 2021). The first-ever virtual tourism expo is a tourism exposition which brings together domestic, regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies and various players in the tourism trade to network and facilitate tourism business.

Under the theme; ‘Restarting Tourism for Regional Economic Development, the expo will take place from 23rd to 25th of April 2021.

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Speaking earlier today, UTB’s Marketing Manager, Claire Mugabi said the virtual platform has unique abilities such as; Directory Listings where exhibitors will be able to showcase their products and services in a variety of multimedia formats, including video, website links and e-brochures.

The One -On-one Meetings function within the platform will be exclusive to buyers, media and exhibitors only, and shall allow participants to connect with the highest level of travel trade industry professionals with direct purchasing power.

“POATE used to be a physical event but because of Covid-19 we decided to host it virtually. The previous Expo happened at Speke Resort Munyonyo. We normally invite 50 top tourism players from various markets and take them round various National Parks and tourism centers before we organize a meeting with local tourism players” she said.

“UTB registered a 138% growth in exhibitors, from 63 exhibitors in 2018 to 150 exhibitors in 2020, and leveraging the power of the internet, this time we expect to attract more than 400 host buyers. With the virtual event we shall host as many as one Million people unlike the previous Events” Claire said

She said hosted  buyers and exhibitors will emerge from the available markets within the East African Region (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda), rest of Africa (Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa) and the international markets (North America, UK and Ireland, Germany speaking countries, Japan, Gulf states and China and the new markets of France, Belgium and Netherlands).

Participants can create their attendee profile, adding products and regions they are interested to buy from. This will make it easy for exhibitors and other participants to quickly find and match contacts that suit their business needs.

“POATE focuses on telling good stories about Uganda to tackle negative publicity about the pearl of Africa. Following the introduction of Covid-19 Vaccine, many tourists will fly into the country as we observe safety measures to aimed at curbing the spread of the Virus,” she said

“POATE 2021 will enable distributors of tourism products to interact with suppliers and distributors in the value chain to establish relationships necessary for business sustainability. During POATE 2021, suppliers of tourism-related services and products will close and sign business deals through travel bookings on-spot. An estimated Shs 12.2 billion is expected in the subsequent financial years,” she said.

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