Uganda Tourism Board-UTB has today launched it’s 6th Edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) that will take place virtually from 23rd to 25th April 2021.
POATE, an annual tourism Uganda event that brings together travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, destination managers and other service providers; will run under the theme; “Restarting Tourism for Regional and Economic Development.”
According to Lilly Ajarova, the UTB Chief Executive Officer, POATE 2021 aims at providing buyers with first-hand information on the products available in Uganda to help them make informed decision on the business deals they may want to seal in the near future.
“We believe POATE 2021 will not only increase destination awareness, but will also allow trade visitor/exhibitors to show case their products, boost product knowledge post Covid-19 in the Ugandan market as well as enhance private sector development,” Ajarova said.
She revealed that in line with the expo theme, the focus would be on four major areas that include; recovery, rebuilding, rebooting and reconnecting travel to Uganda.
“Delegates will have the chance to arrange one-to-one online meetings to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more,” Ajarova said, adding that as UTB, they expect the country to generate UGX12.2 billion worth of deals as a return on investment.
Speaking during the launch at Ndere Centre, Dr. Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities noted that for tourism to restart, UTB must first reboot and reconnect with Ugandans.
“A country that does not do well domestically, can not be able to effectively sell tourism internationally,” Kiwanda said.
He was however pleased to learn that the event (POATE 2021) will be run virtually.
“I’m pleased that UTB is going ahead with the POATE 2021 event virtually. The event will see international buyers from around the world connect online to discover the beauty of Uganda,” the Minister said, adding that “if we are to revive tourism in the country, the Tourism Board must reboot and reconnect with Ugandans first.”
Africa Tembelea has since learnt that the newly signed Market Destination Representatives (MDR’s) will also help in coordinating and sourcing for the right hosted buyers from Uganda’s source markets.
UTB Board Chair Daudi Migereko on his part noted that it was a difficult but necessary decision to cancel physical live event this year, however through this virtual experience, “2021 is expected to be a better year than 2020 with a rebound expected in 2022.”
“This event will be a one of a kind where exhibitors get direct access to chat and video meetings to connect with the target audience,” he said.
With multiple features like pre-setting appointments to customizing a virtual booth with the brand’s look and feel, the exhibitor will be able to create an experience similar to a physical exhibition. Attendees can access networking lounge to connect with fellow attendees from the travel industry virtually, watch webinars, talk shows, panel discussions, and more.
According to UTB, the highlight of POATE 2021 includes a speed networking lounge where the attendees’ video meet and discuss business virtually with the exhibitors from around the world whilst also networking with industry professionals.
“This will be an altogether new experience for the attendee as well as the exhibitor,” the UTB CEO said.
She revealed that hundreds of one-to-one virtual business meetings will take place during the event with delegates also able to explore a live exhibition, with Ugandan suppliers showcasing their products and services on virtual exhibition booths.
The Uganda Tourism Association-UTA President, Pearl Houreau Kakooza who was also in attendance, thanked UTB for accepting to hold a virtual exhibition fully cognizant of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As a country, POATE is our event -a chance for us to shine on the world scene and depict Uganda in a good light,” Mrs Kakooza said.
She called on the sector to embrace the event as the country works at restarting tourism in Uganda.
Buyers and trade visitors interested in finding out more and registering to attend, please sign in to Whova
Photos: 2021 Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo Launch at Ndere Centre