SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A VITAL TOOL TO REGIONAL TOURISM PROMOTION

Baboons-UgandaThe technocrats in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) tourism sector of recent appreciated the significance of social media as regards tourism promotion that would increase regional safaris including safaris to Uganda.

The members of this regional block which brings together all countries from the Nile Valley, Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes areas of recent met in Rwanda’s capital Kigali to forge a way forward to the marketing of East African safari products including those explored on safaris in Uganda.

The meeting which was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, sub-regional office for eastern Africa (UNECA, SRO-EA) run for three (3) days aimed at ascertaining solutions to challenges that are apparently blocking the tourism development in the region.

The Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board Belise Kariza called for a joint approach where the member states have to work together to enhance the experience of the travelers visiting the region including Uganda Safaris. The service quality and the customer service have to be enhanced at all stages if lasting memories are to be created.

Other regional initiatives including the Single East African visa, the Open skies declaration, the use of National Identity Cards along with joint marketing approach at International fairs and exhibitions have proved to be as well of significant contribution as regards intra-regional tourism on the continent of Africa.   If further enhanced, it is believed that trade opportunities and tourism development in the region will spur further.

Besides the above listed, it can be noted that the trend of the social media use cannot be given a deaf ear and therefore a move to take advantage of it has to be undertaken. It can be noted that a multitude of potential world travelers are active on Face book, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, Google+, Tango, Stumble Upon among others where they can be reached with the myriad of the travel products including Uganda tour products available  and induced to visit the region.

Tourism still stand as a significant contributor to the economies of various African countries as it generates foreign exchange and employment opportunities. Therefore, adding more efforts including product diversification and positioning would help to maximization of its potential.