By Editorial Team
News that was seemingly feared to be confounded and baseless, has eventually been confirmed after the body mandated to promote tourism in Uganda, the Uganda Tourism Board, made critical vacancies available to the public for job application. The jobs available included the position of Marketing Manager that went vacant in the previous year when Edwin Muzahura resigned his role at the Lugogo-House-based headquarters.
The chitchats about the possible sacking of a fine percentage of the marketing Board’s staff team was leaked about a week and half ago through one of the sector’s (tourism) WhatsApp forums, The Tourism Thinktank; and it began to spread to several other social media platforms.
When asked to comment about the validity of the conjectures, respectable sources in UTB informed us that the public should refrain from speculating and sharing unverified news, and that Ugandans should let the leadership of the Board to do their work. The same source confirmed that no UTB staff had been fired and neither had the Deputy CEO been dismissed, as the social media posts had purportedly mentioned.
The job advert labeled “Exciting Career Opportunities” that appeared in the New Vision, a national daily, on Monday 2nd July 2018 listed the following available positions with an application deadline of 13th July 2018 at 5:00pm.
- Marketing Manager
- Manager Quality Assurance
- Manager Legal & Corporate Secretary
- Finance and Planning Manager
- Manager Human Resources and Administration
- Senior Internal Auditor
- Senior Public Relations Officer
- Senior Procurement Officer
- Senior Accountant
- Executive Assistant to the CEO
- Legal Officer
- Product Development & Investment Officer
- Marketing Officers (4 vacancies available)
- Planning Officer
- Classification and Registration Officer
- Licensing and Inspection Officer
- Research and M&E Officer
- Assistant Accountant
- Administrative Assistant
- Office Assistant
- Driver Guides (2 vacancies available)
The same advert stated that job specifications can also be accessed through the UTB website on www.visituganda.com.
This comes at the very climax of relentless pressure from government and the tourism private sector as well as the general public regarding the inadequate marketing of “Destination Uganda” when compared to other nations in the East African region and Africa at large that have taken branding and promotion very seriously, and are reaping immensely in return.
The tourism private sector (in particular) which has for long agitated for more finances for destination marketing through the government’s financing framework at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MOFPED) has seen the Tourism Board’s allocations increase from less than one billion in 2008 to the current 17 billion Uganda Shillings in the recently read budget for the fiscal year 2018/2019.
Speaking to individuals who have privately invested in tourism (who preferred to have their names undisclosed), we learnt that all they need is “a Marketing Board that serves its purpose, has a clear plan to follow, uses the resources available optimally, and shows results and accountability for the funds received”. They were hopeful of a better team at UTB at the end of the ongoing restructuring.
It is no longer a mere Board room tête-à-tête that Uganda is the most beautiful country on the African continent with a vast array of attractions and activities for both domestic and international tourists to marvel in. This country that has both the source of the Nile and the biggest population of mountain gorillas as well as the friendliest people and perfect weather was christened the Pearl of Africa, by Sir Winston Churchill (RIP).
The tourism sector minister has repeatedly been cited to say that this sector (with its varied value chain) which adds 10% to national GDP and has captured a spot as the leading foreign exchange earner, is one of the critical areas where President Yoweri Museveni wants improvement in order to create more jobs for the public and earn more revenue. With a sector target of 4 million tourist arrivals in 2020, up from the current 1.3 million visitors, a lot has to be done and this requires the support of both the private and public sector, but more especially in the line of tourism branding and promotion.
The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is a statutory agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities established in 1994 under the Uganda Tourism Board Statute and reconstituted by the Uganda Tourism Act of 2008 with the mandate of promoting tourism and quality assurance in Uganda through marketing, licensing, regulating tourism facilities and liaising with the private sector in tourism investment.