Uganda Tourism Ecosystem Platform (UTEP) launched to promote inclusive tourism in the country

Apr 6, 2017

Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities signs the declaration of intent to take part in the Uganda Tourism Ecosystem Platform looking on is Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Uganda Country Director and Stephen Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Office for Uganda Tourism Board

Kampala  - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with various entities from the tourism sector have launched the Uganda Tourism Ecosystem Platform (UTEP).

This platform is intended to support the tourism industry players including Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA), Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) and Enterprise Uganda among others - in their work towards promoting Uganda as a preferred sustainable and inclusive tourism destination with a tourism sector that creates opportunities for all.

“I congratulate you on establishing this vital platform which will coordinate the various actors making up the tourism ecosystem.  The platform will draw on your unique capabilities and ensure that individual activities build on and reinforce each other,” Ms. Almaz Gebru the UNDP Uganda Country Director said during the launch.

The platform is part of the UNDP initiative to promote inclusive business practices. These practises are a feature of market development that represent a promising approach to how businesses can contribute to bringing the benefits of economic growth directly to low-income earners including women and youth. Inclusive businesses provide low-income earners such as women with access to opportunities for income, basic goods and services, and choice. 

Inclusive business approaches go beyond corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, and impact investment by engaging low income people, and local communities including women and youth in doing business with the larger and more established companies, and thus contributing to addressing gender inequality and social exclusion.

“This platform is significant to the transformation of our tourism & uplifting Uganda to middle income status by 2020,”Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities said during the event.

He added that inclusive business is important because it provides the opportunity and avenue to include the local people in our communities. “Remember that we cannot achieve middle income status without the locals, that’s why Inclusive business and partnering with communities are key,” Hon. Kamuntu said.

Mr. Stephen Asiimwe, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board echoed the Minister saying that role locals play in promoting tourism cannot be underscored. “If locals can market Uganda, then we can give tourists a wholesome package when they are visiting,” he said.

The platform was agreed upon following a two-day meeting in which stakeholders discussed the need for a forum that brings them together to take collective, coordinated and systemic actions to address the challenges constraining the sector from realising its full potential.

The stakeholders agreed that the establishment of a platform to catalyse inclusive growth and development of the tourism sector in Uganda was important especially it will enable them to design systemic interventions that increase the value created from tourism products and services.

The Uganda Tourism Ecosystem Platform is part of UNDP’s efforts to engage private sector in sustainable development – a key part of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly goal 8 on good jobs and economic growth as well as goal 12 on responsible consumption. It also ties in with Goal 5 on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women  since inclusive business looks at supporting the most vulnerable usually women and the youth in our communities.

This partnership follows the declaration by the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) to, on behalf of the private sector, “Support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda”. Thirteen pioneer private sector companies under the PSFU umbrella also adopted the UNDP Gender Equality Seal for Private Enterprises - a mechanism for them to contribute to the attainment of SDG 5.

The platform will be hosted by UNDP for a year while it grows and will later be taken on by members.