KAMPALA – In a bid to amplify Buganda Kingdom’s tourism sites, rich cultural heritage and traditional history to tourists, Buganda Heritage Tourism Board (BHTB) in partnership with Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) engaged Tourism stakeholders for a Royal Mile walk FAM Trip on Saturday. The walk started from Bulange, Mengo (the Parliament of Buganda and oldest Parliament in East Africa) to the Official Palace of the King of Buganda (Mengo Palace) traversing through the historic and famous tourism Royal mile road mediated by a roundabout called ‘’Ntawetwa’’ designed with super iconic monuments showcasing the rich culture of Buganda people and their diverse clan segmentations.
The Royal Mile walk FAM trip that set off ceremony at Bulange, Mengo was graced by Uganda Tourism Board Chairman Hon. Daudi Migereko, Owek. Noah Kiyimba – Minister for Information in Buganda Kingdom(representing the Minister of Tourism in Buganda Kingdom), Mr Kawere Richard – CEO Uganda Tourism Association, Ms Irene Allen Namisango from Uganda Uncovered, Omukungu Benon Ntambi the Chairman Buganda Heritage Tourism Board (BHTB ), Mr Batenze Patrick the Head of Credit at Equity Bank, Mr Mwebe James from Tour Guides Forum, UTB staff among many more Uganda tourism major stakeholders and associations including; KCCA, Uganda Safari Guides Association, Uganda Tourism Association, Uganda Uncovered, and the media.
Upon inaugurating the Royal Mile walk FAM trip, Owek. Noah Kiyimba – Minister for Information in Buganda Kingdom launched a mini-museum at Bulange Mengo and the ‘’Certificate of Completion’’ for the Royal mile and Buganda tourism sites for tourists that will be visiting the spots as these will be received upon semi – completion and full completion of the visits for all tourism places and attractions in the proximity of Kampala and Buganda region at a fee of Shs10,000 as such sites include; Bulange Mengo – a building that has survived for over 70 years, Kasubi Tombs (Amasiiro G’obwakabaka bwa Buganda ), Ssekabaka Kiweewa Tombs, Kabaka’s Lake, Wamala tombs, Lubiri (Kabaka’s palace), Amin’s Dungeon (Torture Chambers), Ntawetwa Roundabout, Lubaga Cathedral, Namirembe Cathedral, Old Kampala, among many more tourist attractions in Buganda.
Addressing Royal mile walkers during the FAM Trip launch ceremony at Bulange, Hon. Daudi Migereko – UTB Board chairman lauded the Kingdom and Buganda Heritage Tourism Board for their call for partnership with Uganda Tourism Board towards upping up Buganda’s rich traditional culture, historical backgrounds among many more so as to create awareness to the public.
He said, ‘’The launch of this Royal mile walk signifies a great interest that Buganda Kingdom has towards Tourism in Uganda. There’s no place in the World that exists without people knowing their culture, norms and traditions as these are very instrumental for every tribe, but also even if all these exist but when information about them is un availed to the general public especially the young and future generations, this makes no relevance, and therefore the unveil of this Royal mile walk that will be of popular interest to masses so as they can come visit and learn more about buganda, the traditional ways of life and sustainability in the past is really a great stride that UTB appreciates as this has lessened our work since the board cannot function alone without such institutions, the private sector and stakeholders, we are therefore so grateful’’.
He added that, ‘’As UTB, we have been discussing on a plan to ramp up Tourism post Covid-19 and justified some of the untapped key areas we need to take on as among these indicated places around Kampala.
This is vital especially during such times when tourists have health concerns given the pandemic Era and therefore feel safe to traverse nearby places around the City’s Central Business District. It’s on this plea that we thought of a tour sachet around the City and therefore this royal mile walk will help us address some of things like enabling delegates that come here for conferences to take on trips around religious places like; Old Kampala, Lubaga, Kibuli, Namirembe while also visiting Namugongo and Munyonyo martyrs shrines, these places are so significant for Faith based tourism and adding Bulange Mengo, the Kabaka’s Lake and Palace to this sachet serves a great purpose as most delegates after attending the conferences whether in Munyonyo or Serena hotels enjoy city trips especially viewing of the Lake plus boat cruises as these spice up their evenings or day’’.
He further said, ‘’When I paid a visit to the Bulange cultural centre, I evolved a deeper thinking about how the Kingdom can really turn this into something bigger and better such as an Auditorium where all this information is showcased like its done in other foreign Countries where people can subscribe for entrance at a given amount and then a tutorial is run through giant screens highlighting all the traditional history and Kingship hierarchy which really gives an in-depth understanding to the Tourist, we can begin this with one simple cinema hall and well decorated room, this can really set pace for other Kingdoms across the Country since Buganda Kingdom has always acted a pivotal role in leading’’.
Allen Irene Namisango – the Head at Uganda Uncovered organisers of the Royal mile walk FAM trip praised the Kingdom and Buganda Heritage Tourism Board for accepting their proposal for the cause and also thanked Uganda Tourism Board for taking on the idea and partnering so as to add a boost to the Royal mile walk FAM trip and also to assist promote destination Buganda as a top tier tourist spot in both the city and the region.
She said, ‘’The partnership has given the walk more weight as Uganda uncovered aims at promoting tourism in the different avenues of Uganda. Therefore, Uganda Uncovered as a brand aims at creating life – long impactful and unique partnerships through tourism walks to add spice to different tourism places and activities as one the walks recently accomplished include; the Makerere Tourism walk in 2019, The Kampala Monument walk last year, and now the third walk which is the Royal Mile happening today. We are doing it in much smaller numbers today given the existence of the pandemic and following Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures but if it wasn’t for Coronavirus, we would literally have much more huge numbers of upto 2,000 participants walking for one common tourism goal, this would have a much more global impact on Uganda’s tourism’’.
Owek. Noah Kiyimba – Minister for Information in Buganda Kingdom who also represented the Minister of Tourism in Buganda commented that Tourism is marketed by a word of mouth but also the political environment in the Country must be appealing. He also appreciated Uganda Uncovered for such meaningful arrangements that will see Buganda strengthen her Tourism as a Kingdom to tourists in Uganda and those from abroad post Covid.
He mentioned that, ‘’Buganda’s tourism for so long has been untapped and also faced challenges of cultural erosion given modern trends and therefore there’s need to get back to the drawing board and lay synergies that will help market destination buganda as a tourist spot, create tourism employment for the youth, create awareness of tourism sites in Buganda at both local and international level, educate young and future generations of Buganda’s rich heritage, norms, traditional way of life, preserve and conserve Buganda culture, traits, and also add value to existing items such as the Backcloth (Olubugo), Wooden sandals, mats, among many more’’.. He added that, ‘’Buganda as a Kingdom has a lot of traditional tales and rich history to sell to the World as a tourism product such as the Kabaka’s lake which is the 3rd dug by simple hoe man-made lake in the entire World but all this is less attended to’’.
He further revealed that, ‘’Buganda as a region has different authentic tourism spots that are natural and therefore invite all Ugandans and foreign tourists to come visit and learn more about Buganda Kingdom while upholding principles of cleanliness as mandated by the Kabaka of Buganda His Royal Highness Ronald Muwenda Muteesa II in the city and homes and to instil same in Children both at home and school level.’’
Mr Busulwa Farouk, Head of the Marketing Committee and board member Buganda Heritage Tourism Board emphasized that there’s a lot more to learn while visiting Buganda Kingdom.
He added that, ‘’In just 45 minutes, you can get to experience Bulange alone, get to know where the past Kings used to seat, the Parliament of Buganda, among others not forgetting the Royal mile that comprises the different sculptures bearing the origins and names of the different people in Buganda’’.
He concluded that, the Palace alone consists of Buganda Museum which includes all items used in the traditional Buganda and former Kabakas, remains of Cars used by Kabaka Muteesa I, Iddi Amin’ s dungeon that served as an Armoury but later turned into a torture chamber among many more.