Tourism is an extremely a broadcasting and an insight industry and as a matter of fact, the Tourism Communication Working Group (TCWG) has been published by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. Tourism is fragile and therefore easily affected by information positively and negatively accordingly hence the need to control perception and protect stakeholders from misleading information is vital.
The Tourism Communication Working Group (TCWG) , Is now going to be Uganda’s new tourism communication frontier to consolidate information distribution in all its agencies. In her statement, Maria Mutagamba, the tourism minister, rejoiced over this constitution of TCWG “Am happy that the TCWG has been constituted. This is a step in the right direction to ensure information flow and equal promotion of all activities in our sector. Now all aspects of tourism can grow together, without say, some tourism products being more prominent at the expense of others.”
This TCWG team consists of seven officers in charge of information, communication and public relations in the six Ministry agencies, Led by the Ministry’s Public Relations unit and they include among others Emma Nahayo Mugizi Chairperson, Vincent Mugaba secretary, Brian Mulego member; Belindah Atim member; Jossy Muhangi member; Ms Angella Atukunda member; Patricia, Nuwagaba member and Everlyn Nalumu member.
According to the Tourism Minister, Maria Mutagamaba, the TCWG job is a tough one since there are many different voices in the sector and the team must speak as one voice for the tourism industry for its better development in the country. She further advised the team to aim at establishing a voice that is distinguished and respected above all other voices. And also told them to arm themselves with the facts needed to control rumors / gossips and restore tourist confidence.
Maria Mutagamba further stated that the top management is available to direct, guide, help and support TCWG in all areas of their operations. She also said that they are We are buoyant in the abilities of TCWG and hope for a change in the way tourism communication is done in Uganda. In other words the future of tourism communication is left to TCWG voice.
It is a concern to all top management that tourism gets one voice which will be through the newly established TCWG. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Ambassador Patrick Mugoya, also confirmed that there has been a challenge in information dissemination among different agencies leading to the distribution of different information within the sector. He therefore advised strong team work with in TCWG and speak as one voice.
The TCWG team Chairperson, Mrs. Emma Nahayo Mugizi; the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, also complained that it has been easy for the media in Uganda to focus on the negative aspects of tourism that make news. We will focus on promoting the positive aspect. We aim to put the good side of Uganda out there so much that it cannot be ignored anymore. We are tired of seeing disease and terrorism take the lead as Uganda’s number one attributes. Tourism is Uganda’s top foreign exchange earner and our message should reflect it.”
TCWG’s major goal, is reforming the voice of tourism and ensure that one aspect of tourism does not suffer in favour of others (all tourism sectors are favoured equally). “All aspects of tourism need to be equally promoted and made visible as much as possible. Where the sector overlaps with others, TCWG aims at using its networks and links to address such challenges.
Tourism is one of the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda and thousands of travelers visit Uganda for gorilla safaris, wildlife game viewing and other adventure holidays. However the country still receives less tourists if compared with other destinations in Africa. Due to tourism being a highly media and perception industry, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities looks at the media as an important tool to disseminate information and market Uganda globally.