On 30th March, 2022, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the government of Uganda’s destination marketing organization, launched its new destination brand Explore Uganda, The Pearl of Africa, as part of a tourism and media launch event held at the Sheraton Jumeriah Beach Resort in Dubai, United Arab Emirates – a leading cultural, business and financial center of the world.

The launch is a follow up of the initiatives of His Excellency – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at the start of the Dubai Expo in October 2021. The launch, presided over by Hon. Tom Butime – Uganda’s Cabinet Minister for Tourism, resulted in the United Arab Emirates becoming the first international market to experience the launch of Uganda’s new destination brand.  UAE and other Gulf States are part of the emerging tourism source markets for destination Uganda.

The open-air evening was graced by over 90 key industry stakeholders, professionals, media and travel bloggers from the United Arab Emirates and GCC countries, to learn more about the uniqueness of destination Uganda.  Uganda’s Ambassador to the UAE – H.E. Zaake Wanume Kibedi, Members of Parliament on the Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry led by Hon. Awor Betty Engola (Woman MP, Apac District), Tourism Ministry Permanent Secretary – Mrs Doreen Katusiime, Aviareps  Middle East (UTB’s representatives in UAE) also attended the event.

Speaking at the launch, Hon. Tom Butime said: “Uganda is extremely excited to launch its revitalized brand and travel offering to the world, and we are thrilled to do that here in Dubai, where the UAE and surrounding Gulf States are a priority tourism source market for Uganda. Through our continuous promotional efforts in the region and participation in Expo 2020 Dubai over the last six months, we have developed the necessary networks and offerings to ensure Uganda is positioned as a top holiday destination for travelers from the UAE and GCC seeking meaningful and unique once in a life time experiences.”

Ms. Lilly Ajarova, Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board added: “The new brand promise seeks to re-emphasize Uganda’s rare and precious range of tourism attractions that can all be found in one destination and based on pillars of sustainability, clarity, consistency, collaboration and empowerment. To this end we are targeting travellers that are ready to explore Uganda based on their own personal interests”.

Uganda is home to an array of experiences that in combination can’t be experienced in any other one country on earth. These include the Big 5 + 2 (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Gorilla and Chimpanzee) safari and primate experiences, boat cruises on the Nile River, Lake Victoria, other fresh water bodies and a myriad of adventure activities such as white-water rafting, bungy jumping and mountaineering to name a few.

In addition to the launch, the event also featured traditional performances, Uganda coffee tasting, a talk show discussion with Dubai residents that have previously visited Uganda, and the announcement of three influential content creators that have been nominated as Uganda Goodwill Travel Ambassadors. The new travel ambassadors will visit Uganda in the coming months to showcase the best that Uganda has to offer to the GCC.

Uganda has exceptional direct flight connectivity between Uganda and the UAE, with Uganda’s national airline, Uganda Airlines flying 4 flights a week from Dubai, in addition to Emirates Airlines flying 5 times a week and Flydubai operating daily flights from Dubai, and Air Arabia operating daily flights from Sharjah, UAE. These airlines plus the 27 other airlines connecting to and from Entebbe give any traveller sufficient travel flexibility, planning and connection arrangements. Using the wide variety of carriers and flight options available, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), has also launched a number of partnerships and activations in the region to ensure that the UAE and Gulf travelers enjoy meaningful holiday experiences in the Pearl of Africa. Special holiday packages have been created in time for Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr holidays and throughout the summer season.