Kenya, Uganda turn to cross-cultural tourism to boost numbers, revenue

Uganda Consul General to Mombasa Amb Paul Mukumbya.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya and Uganda are banking on cross-cultural tourism to help boost tourism visitor numbers and revenue between the two countries.

The two East African nations are exploring dance, traditional cuisines and cultural activities that will complement each other in providing a variety of attractions for both business and leisure tourism.

This happens as the Uganda Consulate in Mombasa organised a four-day Uganda culinary and cultural event dubbed the Uganda Festival in Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa, aiming to attract both Kenyan and international visitors to their nation.

Speaking at Diani Reef Beach Resort in Kwale County last week, Uganda Consul General to Mombasa Ambassador Paul Mukumbya said Kenya and Uganda cross-border tourism has big potential yet to be fully exploited.

"The aim of the festival is to expose the unique Ugandan products to a wider number of corporate Kenyans, and other regional and international tourists at the Kenya coast," he said.

The events are being held in Diani Reef in Kwale, Ocean Beach in Malindi, Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi and Fort Jesus in Mombasa. A sports tourism event-a golf tournament at Vipingo Ridge, as part of the festival.

According to Mr Mukumbya, Kenya received about 200,000 Ugandan visitors last year, and at least 500,000 Kenyans crossed the border to Uganda for tourism and business. “Kenya is the number one source market for visitors to Uganda. Last year, the offiocial figures indicate that almost 500,000 Kenyans visited Uganda,” said Mr Mukumbya.

He said Kenya and Uganda need to focus on the regional markets to promote growth in the tourism sector.

“That is why we are sensitising more Kenyans and more international visitors to come and sample products in Uganda,” he said.

During the Kwale edition, the guests were treated to two-hour cultural dances and entertainment from the Ndere Troupe and Uganda comedian Anne Kansiime. The guests, also had an opportunity to sample Uganda’s cuisines. This is the third bi-partisan initiative since 2022, where Kenya and Uganda partnered to sample tourist attractions in both countries.

"Kwale has investment opportunities in tourism, real estate, agriculture, livestock, and mining among others. This will be a direct benefit to our citizens leading to enhanced socioeconomic development," Kwale Deputy Governor Chirema Kombo said.

The initiative was launched in 2022, as a move for both countries to conduct collaborative tourism, with Uganda’s tourism players reaching out to Kenya in a bid to help bridge market access challenges for Kampala’s hospitality offers.

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