- Promoting tourism: The annual hotels and restaurant expo seeks to promote local and international tourism in Uganda.
The fifth edition of the Annual Uganda Hotels and Restaurant expo had some big moments. The chefs put up a sprightly show in a cooking race. It was as much entertaining as it was rewarding for the revellers who cheered on their favourites.
With the fire flames from the oily spicy pans, the chefs pulled out their best recipes to prepare meals for the eagerly waiting audience.
Another session engaged the crowd in an eating competition. Ten eggs, two big barns and a 500-mililitre plastic bottle of soda were placed before each of the contestants.
The emcee announced that they had a minute to clear their plates. However, voices within the audience echoed through protests, as if to say the time was so little. Later the emcee budged in and set the ‘eating time’ to five minutes.
Richard Ssenfuma beat the others after clearing his plate and downing two soda bottles in record speed.
About the same time, Clever’s Origin Junior School choir entertained the crowd as they put up a spirited performance of dance and singing.
The expo took place at Hotel Africana under the theme, “Promoting Domestic Tourism’.
It was organised by the Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association (UHOA), a trade and lobby organisation of hotels, lodges and camps.
According to Jean Byamugisha, the executive director of UHOA, the main aim of the expo is market hotels in Uganda.
“The purpose is to assure the public that Uganda has enough hotels to accommodate everyone’s status and budget,” she explains.
Daily Monitor was part of the promoters and Monitor Publications’ head of marketing, Sarah Nalule Walakira said the partnership was informed by the belief that Ugandans need to have a platform to understand and appreciate local tourism.
Joseph Musyoki Ndunda, one of the judges during the chef’s cooking competition, and hospitality examiner, observed that the turnout for the expo was good but there is need to bring on board other stakeholders.
“We can learn from other countries which have been organising expos for many years,” Ndunda said. He recommended that future competitions should include all other departments in the hospitality segment such as driver guides, receptionist and housekeeping room stewards, among others.
However, according to Byamugisha, UHOA as organisers have kept learning from past experience. “We were much more organised and our members have turned up in bigger numbers because they can see the benefits of participating at such events. This is now one of our most successful annual events,” she said.
Comparing the previous expos to the current one, Byamugisha said, it indicates that there has been some strides.
“Of course like all things, the first one was very humble. We lacked the experience and most importantly the networks to make it happen.”
“This year is the best. We had big sponsors. It’s going from strength to strength,” she said.