A delegation of Indian artists and travel agents Wednesday afternoon arrived in Uganda to market the country to the outside world.
They were received at Entebbe airport by the Minister of State for Tourism Hon Godfrey Kiwanda and the Uganda High Commissioner to New Delhi, Ambassador Grace Akello.
Their visit is aimed at promoting and enhancing cultural ties between Uganda and India.
The Bollywood actors, directors and producers told press they want to promote Uganda as a location for film for Bollywood and as a tourist destination for Indians.
During their maiden visit to Uganda, the delegation of 12 people will explore Uganda’s natural beauty, track gorillas in Bwindi, visit markets and other national parks as part of their programme running from today February 27 to March 6, 2019.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Akello lauded the team for making India a powerhouse of the world and encouraged them to avail similar opportunities to Uganda.
Bollywood actor and director Bharat Dabholkar who is also head of the delegation said he has been hearing about Uganda for a long time but has never visited it.
Noting that Indie film was the second largest in the world, Bharat cited the possibility of making Bollywood films in Uganda.
He brought along a location scout guru to check out the facilities available in Uganda and the locations necessary for making films.
Bharat said his third interest is in advertising Uganda’s potential to the rest of the world.
He said the country was lagging behind in that field compared to its neighbours.
Tourism minister Kiwanda interested the group in the many tourism potentials that Uganda has to offer, but acknowledged marketing has been a challenge to his ministry.
“Last week, we had a delegation from Israel and at the end of their tour, they were mesmerised by what they saw in Uganda. I hope you will also become good ambassadors for Uganda at the end of your visit,” Kiwanda told the delegation.
He said tourism is still Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner but the country only attracts about 1.2 million tourists a year.
“The country is small but rich in culture, wildlife and beautiful sceneries. We will show you some communities like the Karimajong and show you how to milk cows. We will take you gorilla tracking.”
Kiwanda said Uganda has 60 percent of the world’s gorillas. He said Uganda also has good food which he encouraged tourists to sample.
The delegation started its tour with a visit to Kidepo Valley National Park. They will visit Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Namugongo, Rubaga and Namirembe cathedrals as well as Kampala markets.