KAMPALA – The Ugandan media industry has been advised by officials from the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to practice patriotic journalism in order to promote the country’s image on the International stage.
“The world is embracing native journalism, look at how Rwanda transformed after the genocide, or how Zimbabwe did after the Mugabe era,” said Muhereza Kyamuteter, a trainer at the media conference.
UTB Senior Public Relations Officer (PRO), Sandra Natukunda also assured journalists that UTB is developing an online magazine that will host content on tourism from multiple sources to aid better reporting with accurate facts.
“By the end of 2019, an integrated system of statistics will be implemented,” she told the media team.
Ms, Natukunda, also noted that UTB has media representatives from different countries and has pledged to link local media players to them, in a possible exchange programme for Ugandan journalists to represent Uganda abroad to cover Uganda participation during International tourism events.
Some members from the media fraternity have also urged the government to harmonise the sister agencies like UWEC, UWA and UTB among others which all fall under the Ministry of Tourism for better flow of information and to avoid miscommunication which can cause confusion.
This was suggested in the wake of recent related events that led two government officials to clash, one official from police and a prominent spokesperson which incidents portray the government in bad light.
Among the other concerns expressed at the on-going media training include; the major challenge faced by UTB include; the takeover of potential tourist sites that could’ve been conserved but are instead allocated to investors who demolish them to pace the way for construction.
It is also a fact, that underfunding of the tourism sector by the government is also still a challenge that affects the tourism industry as it is a very costly venture to market the country’s natural resources to a global audience on a lean budget.
The Tourism industry also faces the challenge of low competitiveness, of Uganda as a tourist destination.
Muhereza Kyamutetera, a facilitator and keynote speaker at the media training has highlighted the local media is vital in building the reputation of a country.
Speaking at the workshop yesterday, Mr Kyamutetera said that “human beings are powered by emotion not reason.”
“We need to create more awareness about Uganda to the International market,” Mr Kyamutetera advised the media.
He noted that the media needs to capitalise on the competitive advantage of Uganda to better brand it as a preferred tourism destination globally.
At the conference, the journalists were reminded of their key role in shaping the destiny of Uganda as opposed to writing stories without caring about the consequences of their media products.
“You cannot create a brand in isolation,” said Kyamutetera.
It has been acknowledged that many tourists, depend on the stories in the media to make important decisions, such as what to buy and where to travel.
“Let’s not just write empty stories” advised Kyamutetera.