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Insight into Harnessing Social Media to Promote Uganda’s Tourism



The digital age has come with numerous revolutions, discoveries and inventions which have brought an immense change to almost everything as concerns human interaction, communication, technology and travel concepts.

Social media has changed the way people communicate through supporting the concept of creating personal relationships as well as gather business contacts in order to dissipate messages rapidly.

Today, people can use social media to order merchandise, create and exchange information, pictures and videos in virtual communities and networks.

It is therefore important to note that Social media and tourism promotion could move perfectly hand in hand.

After deciding to travel, potential tourists use social media as a fact-finding tool when zeroing down to a travel destination, making “travel” one of the most shared topics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With the campaign of ‘sharing your story’, people have learnt to share their experiences of the places they have visited, the food they love most, hotels and lodges they like and many others.

With social media, the world has become a global village because one will easily go to places that impress them right from a post or review posted on social media.

Other travelers can even plan the whole trip online using sites like Trip Advisor which has over 7 million locations, restaurants, hotels and tourism attractions and more than 490 million active users.

Content Creation

The content one posts on their social media platforms has the power to make them or their company a ‘hit’ online and could increase their following.

According to the Public Relations Officer of the Association of Ugandan Tour Operators, Jonathan Benaiah also a travel content creator, social media and tourism are inseparable in these times and that the way customers use it has influenced other sectors.

“I think Social Media and tourism marketing are like Nambi and Kintu; made for each other. And there are now many good ones that are still free. Using the ‘gram’, customers can find, share and review some of their best experiences in a few clicks or scrolls on platforms like Trip Advisor, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and the giant, Facebook that has over 32% of the world’s population actively engaged every month,” he said.

He added that marketers and investors in this modern age need to be where their audiences are, and if it is on the gram (instagram) or on the timeline then that’s exactly where we will and must be.

Only then, Benaiah further noted, would you know that about 89% of the millennials will most definitely get travel ideas from the experiences of their peers, role models and people they trust on digital media. And that 92% of users trust earned media (reviews and word of mouth) above any other form of advertising.

“Definitely, businesses can’t play the blind eye here especially in a sector where customers aren’t impulse buyers, but will do a bit more digging up,” he said.

It is through social media that businesses, experts say, also learn about satisfied and unsatisfied clients every day and are able to respond.

A genuine and well composed response improves reputation in the minds of both current and future clients. The same platforms also offer a quick and free feedback option.

Travel Influencers

Make use of travel influencers, more so for destinations that still lack content. They will help set the mood for the destination because they attract their audiences to your destination.

Just make sure they have what it takes to do the job also you may consider checking out their social media platforms just to be sure.

According to Bernard Olupot Ewalu, a social media influencer, companies looking for influencers should be ready to spend on them in order to smoothen their executions.

“Also, when they come over to your places, give them as much information as possible. It is not enough for someone to sleep in your establishment, eat your food and write a story about it. That doesn’t cut it. Give them some ‘behind the scenes’ tours. Let them know some interesting information that any traveller would find fascinating,” he said.

Olupot also noted that companies should try as much as possible to embrace the digital era so that there is a quick exchange of information especially with the ‘unsatisfied’ customers who tend to get rowdy on social media.

“Get onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Trip Adviser, Foursquare Swarm among others. Be online and be responsive because people on the internet can be a little impatient. Don’t just check your socials once a week. Check regularly and invest in putting your establishment online. Focus on growing your business and have someone who is a ‘Digital Junkie’ to handle the digital business for you. Think about a website, client reviews, SEO optimization, and all other things that entail the Digital Landscape,” he said.

He also advised travel influencers who are looking for gigs to start by investing in themselves.

“Spend money traveling, enjoying your life and then documenting it. You will be sure to attract the right companies and they will be willing to fund some of your trips and even pay you handsomely. If you are not interested in traveling or spending on yourself then perhaps this is not your area,” Olupot said.

“It is very likely that establishments will believe that you are serious about your craft if they see that your pages are littered with stories of you moving around the country,” he noted.

Reviews and Recommendations

Reviews and recommendations are proof that the campaign is working and believe me when l say that recommendations sell like hot cake.

When I am planning to visit a place, l first check out the reviews read through and then l can make my final decision.

Search Engine Optimization

The Tourism Industry should look at using the Search Engine Optimization which will help you in increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. Invest not only in content on search teams but also quality and useful or what we may term was relevant content.

Make sure the websites have adequate booking facilities as well as packages for example foreigners can be provided with an option of paying using the Visa card while the locals can be given an option of paying using mobile money and cash.


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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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