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Cultural events can awaken sleeping giant

a cultural event in ugandaMarketing of East Africa’s rich art and culture poorly is dragging its competitiveness in this fruitful Uganda safari industry despite its great potential to even rival Brazil.

A statement from the East African Community said, “There are clear business benefits in developing cultural events that attract tourists who can go on Uganda safaris as well as attend the festival. For example, the Rio Carnival brings in an estimated $500 million into Brazil’s economy each year”.

Taking an example of the annual Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar which attracts more than 200 performers and thousands of visitors, experts say art and cultural events not only boosts the economy’s revenue but can also improve on the region’s tourism(Uganda safari sector) and travel sectors as some tourists later on get attracted to go on Uganda safaris as well.

Basing on this factor the EAC secretariat has organized the first ever East African Art and Culture Festival locally termed as Jam fest, or Jumuiya Ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni — that  will be launched in Kigali hoped to become a rotational festival.

The East African Community has however showed enthusiasm:

The festival runs for six days starting from February 11 to 16 and it is expected to attract over 300 participants coming from Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Initially, each sister state was to send 50 participants. However, as the D-day drew closer, performing artists from various countries showed increasing enthusiasm, forcing the organisers to adjust the quota system.

Rica Rwigamba, head of conservation and tourism at the Rwanda Development Board, said the festival has helped the board to achieve its plan of promoting cultural events as part of a larger program to diversify on the tourism products and items as a broader picture is created instead of only focusing on safaris.

Diversifying on an industry’s products, according to experts, works as an attraction for more tourists and also makes them spend more time in the country even after their Uganda safaris as they have a variety to see as well as learn, which later translates into more revenue for the country at large and more income to help improve more on the tourism industry .This helps tourists take time off and learn about their hosts’ culture even after a Uganda safari.

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