The end of the 2017 edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo – POATE was marked with a gala dinner at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel to give hosted buyers and international travel media a befitting send off but also to celebrate excellence in the country’s tourism industry.
Guest of Honour was no other than Uganda’s Vice President, H.E. Edward Ssekandi and he handed over the key awards himself to the winners of the night.
Two weeks passed like in a flash for those who came to Uganda to sample its rich variety of tourism offerings and while initially going different directions did all then come together again in Jinja, a town at the source of the River Nile known as East Africa’s Adventure Capital.
There everyone had choices and the opportunity to experience what tourists normally do when visiting, such as bungee jumping, quad biking, horse back riding and of course rafting down some of the grade five rapids along the upper Nile valley.
25 awards were handed out earlier in the evening and the winners were in the various categories:
Best Luxury Accommodation – Kampala Serena Hotel
Best Mid Range Accommodation – Mutanda Lake Resort
Best Budget Accommodation – Mweya Hostel and Cottages
Best Homestay – Tinka’s Homestead
Best Tour Operator – Matooke Tours
Best Travel Agent – Intek Travel
Best Airline – RwandAir
Best Cultural or Community Tourism Initiative – Entanda Community
Best Wildlife Destination – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Best Cultural Destination – Tooro Kingdom
Best Tourism Programme TV – Urban TV Ecozone
Best Tourism Journalist – Solomon Oleny
Best Digital Media – Diary of a Muzungy by Charlotte Beauvoisin
Best Conservation Institution – Uganda Wildlife Authority
Best Conservation Personality – Lilly Ajarova of Ngamba Island
Best General Safari Guide – Alex Gabiito
Best Cultural Guide – Tamwenya Paul
Best male tourism personality – Amos Wekesa
Best female tourism personality – Agnes Kemigisa
Best Exhibitor National Tourist Boards – Rwanda Development Board
Best Exhibitor overall – Serena Hotels
Best Exhibitor Regional Tourism Clusters – Lango
Best Exhibitor Regional Tourism Clusters – Kigezi
Most Active Social Media Profile Female – Kate Webster
and last but not least
Most Active Social Media Profile Male – Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
Thanks were expressed by the #POATE2017 guests to the Uganda Tourism Board and all their partners who contributed to making the tours across the country but also the exhibition a success, notably the Kampala Sheraton Hotel where the exhibition was held in the extensive gardens of the hotel but also the Uganda Wildlife Authority and a number of service providers.
Also mentioned were Miss Lydia Kalimwine and Ms. Farida Ddamulira for working alongside the various UTB staff deployed with the various tour groups as tourism industry volunteers and for being the proverbial ‘fixers‘ without whom any such venture could not succeed.
From this correspondent too it is a big thank you, or Webare Nyo in our local language to UTB for arranging the Expo and ringing in a new era of active global market interaction to drive the number of visitors to Uganda from the present 1.5 million per year to new heights.
Added information about Destination Uganda can be accessed via www.visituganda.com and details about the country’s national parks is available via www.ugandawildlife.org