UGANDA: The Uganda tourism marketing campaign launched this January dubbed “Destination Uganda” has outperformed its expectations if the views, engagements, and impressions on various platforms are to go by.
The 2-minute movie ‘Explore Uganda – The Pearl of Africa’ shot by LOOKOUT Films has already won international accolades including 3 awards at this year’s International Tourism Film Festival (ITFF) Africa Awards held in South Africa this month.
The campaign launch presided over by President Museveni at Kololo was aimed at re-boosting Uganda’s position as a tourist destination following two years of disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced countries to close borders.
Uganda Tourism Board-UTB and the country’s tourist organizations realized that a lot could be done online as more people turned to the internet to connect with the rest of the world for shopping, entertainment, and ‘travel’, among others.
The UTB Executive, Director Lilly Ajarova, says the success of the movie is not only due to what Uganda has to offer in terms of tourist attractions but also the creativity of the people involved like the producers and scriptwriters.
“As a result of this great achievement the online statistics for the Explore Uganda new destination brand show 526 million impressions on Explore Uganda – The Pearl of Africa brand handles, 18 million views on the Google display banner and 381 clicks, while YouTube video has 1.6 million views with 9 million impressions, and 378,418 engagements,” says UTB.
The movie was among the highlights of the campaign and has made more people appreciate Uganda via the various UTB online channels. One viewer on Youtube who says he is from Scotland hailed the movie for attempting to give Uganda’s reality, away from the negative impressions of the country and Africa as a whole.
“Videos like this help change the ignorant narrative so many people have of Uganda. What I enjoyed most is seeing a Ugandan video with Ugandans only within. A video that’s true to this great nation,” says Stephen Robertson, who says is due to wed his Ugandan girlfriend this year.
The three international tourism film awards at Cape Town City hall, South Africa saw Uganda crowned this year’s Grand Prix and two times Gold award winner by the International Tourism Film Festival Africa for the film.
The Awards are part of the global film festivals and the only one in Africa with other circuits such as the New York Film Festival (USA), Cannes Film Festival in France, Terres Travel festival in Tortosa, Spain, and the Amorgos Tourism Film Festival in Greece.
The awards seek to honor exceptional and innovative video content related to the tourism and travel industry, accessible on all continents, and can be seen and used on various platforms. Tourism Minister, Tom Butime says Uganda is overcoming the gloom caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the sector in particular with the evolving ways of doing business, noting the impact that this campaign is having.
“With this, I begin to think that we are living an interesting time given the accolades as these amplify the Country’s image in the whole world as a leading tourism destination. For an organization to take pride in its work, you must have trophies and accolades like the ones Uganda has won,” he says.
Apart from giving visibility to a product, movie clips on platforms like YouTube earn the content creators through adverts placed on the movies. The number of times the movie is watched determines how the owner of the content is paid.
“Advertising revenue is generated when people watch ads that are running on videos. This revenue from ads is shared between YouTube and the Creator – thus empowering Creators to directly profit from their work,” the Minister said.
The film seeks to increase arrivals in the destination as the global travel industry recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. UTB hopes to rebuild and restart the sector as the global tourism and travel industry resumes. Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Uganda, having earned the country over US$1.6 billion in 2019, and accounting for 7.7% of the national GDP, according to official statistics.
The motive is to return the sector’s performance to that level. Daudi Migereko, the UTB Board chairman, says that they will use this performance to compel the government to increase funding for the marketing of Uganda, which had remained behind its East African peers.
The government has allocated the Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities ministry Shillings 176.7 billion for the year 2022-23, more or less the same as the current budget, but less than the 197.4 billion that was approved for the year 2020-21.
A tourism sector investor, Amos Wekesa says that for a sector capable of earning the country US$12 billion a year, given the needed support, US$ 30 million (UGX 110 billion) is too little for marketing.
“Uganda’s Tourism with a US$30m as expenditure annually on branding and marketing, has a capacity of earning us a minimum 12bn dollars a year as a country. That’s almost equivalent to our annual budget in shillings”, says the proprietor of Great Lakes Safaris.