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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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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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