The Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform (KTCP) is a consortium of various Tourism Stakeholders in the Kigezi Region.
Kigezi Region covers what are now Kabale District, Kanungu District, Kisoro District, Rukiga District, Rubanda District, Rukungiri District, in southwest Uganda
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform (KTCP) consists of the Tourism Stakeholders broadly categorized into; Public Agencies, the Academic and Research Institutions, Private Sector Operators along the Tourism Value Chain and the Local Communities (Banyakigezi).
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform was formulated on 30th December, 2011 mainly to coordinate and spearhead the Socio Economic Transformation of the Kigezi Sub-Region through Tourism Development. It was formally incorporated on 10th March 2015 by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
Tourism had proven to be resilient to economic upheavals before COVID-19 but it will definitely bounce back from the harsh economic setback caused by the pandemic.
Tourism continues to take lead in economic transformation through; Job creation, poverty alleviation and skills transfer amongst the youth and unemployed, foreign exchange and contribution to GDP.
The tourism industry is Uganda’s largest source of foreign exchange. It is responsible for 7.7% of GDP(the financial year 2018/19)and generates 670,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs, in addition to collectively protecting and conserving Uganda’s natural resources.
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster’s major AIM, therefore, is to ensure that these Impacts through Tourism are felt at the lowest level of our rural communities. It should be noted that following the endowment, beauty and bountifulness of Kigezi, the region alone fetches almost 70% of the total national tourism revenue. There is, therefore, a need to appreciate and conserve this Natural and Cultural heritage through Tourism for sustainable wealth creation to be tapped into by all in the Region.
OBJECTIVES OF THE KIGEZI TOURISM CLUSTER PLATFORM
- Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform act as an Advocacy Platform promoting and lobbying for the interests of tourism development in theKigezi region and nationally
- Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform promote and package the attractions of the Kigezi region for the domestic, regional and international tourism market
- Mobilize and engage the Banyakigezi community to appreciate, conserve and develop the tourism attractions in the theKigezi region
- Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform Identify tourism opportunities and position the Kigeziregion to attract investment in the tourism sector.
It should be noted that Tourism in Kigezi is largely nature-based with the main primary attraction in the region being Mountain Gorillas and its habitat and Gorilla tracking activity. The gorgeous landscapes sandwiched with water bodies produce breath-taking scenery which together with a few cultural displays complement the primary attraction
TOURISM CHALLENGES IN THE REGION
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform has encountered a few challenges that have slowed down its efforts to develop Kigezi region’s competitiveness in tourism.
- Underdeveloped tourism link roads, Air and water transport in Kigezi region
- Lack of enforcement of environmental safety regulations
- Inadequate tourism training facilities in Kigezi Region
- High operational costs in business
- Minimal formal membership of the critical stakeholders
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS OF KIGEZI TOURISM CLUSTER
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform (KTCP) Developed a Work Plan for 2013-15, launched in Kisoro District, December 2012 under three thematic areas; – Advocacy, Capacity Building and Investment Promotion and Marketing. These were implemented through Committees and Platform Meetings.
- Infrastructure Development (Roads, Power, Internet connection and Water)
- Increased Funding for the Sector especially in Product Diversification and Marketing
- Advocacy for Standards Development and classification of Accommodation Facilities. ( Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) mandate but we have to be ready in order to get East Africa (EA) classifications )
- Some achievements have therefore been recorded ;
- Infrastructure Development;
- Main priority Tourism Roads were contracted for maintenance under Term Contracts. There is need to ensure that there is ‘Value for Money’ as execution progresses.
- Standards Development
- The Kigezi Tourism Cluster engaged the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities (MTWA) in developing Standards for the Kigezi Tourism Home-Stay Associations. Draft Guidelines were developed and are with the Association.
- A number of capacity building activities have been implemented at; Professional Training, Exposure through Field Visits and Institutional Strengthening Levels.
- Professional Training
- Kabale University has been at the forefront of providing professional training within the Cluster area. The following courses are now offered; Tour Guide, Hospitality and Tourism.
- Exposure through Field Visits and Competitions:
- A number of field activities have been conducted for schools and competitions held to build capacity. Kabale also hosted about 60 stakeholders from across the Country on four sites of Tourism attractions. This has had a focus on;
- Formulation of other Kigezi Tourism Homestays Association
- Formalization of the Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform
INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND MARKETING
Kigezi Tourism Challenge:
The Kigezi Tourism Cluster with Kabale University organized the 1st Tourism Challenge for Secondary Schools to promote awareness and enable young people as future leaders to appreciate Tourism potential in the Region. This was on 21st June of 2014, main activities included; hiking for a health Competition, an Exhibition and a quiz on Culture, Travel and Nature, around 20 Secondary Schools around Kabale Municipality participated.
Kigezi Tourism Conference 2017
The Conference was presided over by H.E The President of the Republic of Uganda, represented by Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. Whereas Tourism Week was successfully championed by Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda, Ssuubi, the State Minister Tourism, Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA) with key Tourism Stakeholders; Private Sector Investors, Kigezi Tourism Cluster Members, Local Government Officials, UWA Staff, UTB, the Media, among others.
THE ‘TULAMBULE KIGEZI’ WEEK
The Kigezi region Tulambule campaign was organized between the 26th to 30th April 2017 and one of the major objectives was to ‘promote domestic Tourism’, climaxed with a Conference under the theme “Transforming Kigezi through Tourism” at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale. The Tulambule Week was organized and successfully executed with visits of Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro and all the Tourism sites that are therein.
In the year 2017 / 2018 we were able to;
- OrganiseKigezi Tourism Conference
- Tulambule week
- Attend several Tourism events both at the Local and National levels.
In the year 2019 we were able to;
- Kigezi Marathon – built an improved latrine for Bwama primary school… Thanks to MTN Uganda, others sponsors for coming on board, we missed June 2020 due to the lockdown/ Covid-19 pandemic but hope 2021 June to be back
In conclusion, therefore, allow me to remind you that Tourism can transform Kigezi, but our Cooperation will quicken and consolidate this transformation.
For More information about the Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform, or interested in partnership or sponsor events and activities in Kigezi Region, interested in just learning about our beautiful region, feel free to drop us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org