Unlike the previous five (5) Pearl of Africa Tourism Expos, the 2021 POATE edition is designed in consideration of the Covid-19 Pandemic; for this reason the 6th edition is Virtual and the first of its kind in Uganda. 

Organized yearly by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) is a tourism exposition that brings together local, regional and international tour operators, travel agents, destination agencies and various players in the tourism trade to network and facilitate tourism business.

Slated for 23rd to 25th of April, the 2021 POATE is happening amidst optimism and rays of hope in revitalizing the tourism sector that was hit hardest by the pandemic. This year POATE is running under the theme: “Restarting Tourism for Regional Economic Development.”

According to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the decision to go virtual was not only informed and influenced by the unique physical as well as logistical challenges posed by Covid-19, in addition to the associated limitations, but the board also wanted to leverage the power of internet to bring on board as many participants as possible.

The board has apparently built a specialized virtual meeting platform that shall facilitate one-on-one meetings, virtual speed networking sessions as well as live conference sessions for domestic, regional and international tourism players.

The virtual platform is exceptional with abilities like;

Directory Listings;

Equivalent to on-stand presentations, this will enable exhibitors showcase their products and services in an array of multimedia formats, like; video, website links and e-brochures. 

1-On-1 Meetings

The meetings function within the platform will be exclusive to buyers, media and exhibitors only. It will allow participants to connect with the highest level of travel trade industry professionals with direct purchasing power. Participants can create their attendee profile, adding products and regions they are interested in buying from. This will make it easy for exhibitors and other participants to quickly find and match contacts that suit their business needs.

Lead Generation

Here participants will be in position to distantly organize and plan individual 30-minute video meetings and network with industry professionals. The platform also allows different functionalities, like; business cards exchange, drawing up of draft contracts, etc. 

Choice Content Sessions

Participants will have a variety of live sessions, debates and forums from industry experts to choose from. Different topics from experts in key spaces like; hotels, aviation, resilience, sustainability, and recovery in a post-COVID-19 world have all been lined up.

POATE 2021 participants will be scrutinized through a set of criteria that has been designed by the National organizing committee to make sure they are of the right quality to showcase Destination Uganda’s offering.

The board hopes to build on the successes of POATE 2020 where they registered a 138% growth in exhibitors, from 63 exhibitors in 2018 to 150 exhibitors in 2020, and leveraging the power of the internet, this time they expect to attract more than 200 exhibitors.

As Uganda prepares for the gradual recovery of the global regional tourism sector, UTB believes that POATE 2021 will contribute the following:

  1. Increased Destination Awareness: POATE 2021 will enable trade visitors and exhibitors to showcase and obtain the latest information on available tourism products from Uganda and the rest of the world.
  2. Increased product knowledge: The expo will enable suppliers of tourism products to test the acceptance of these products in the post covid-19 Ugandan market.
  3. Enhanced Tourism Service Distribution:  POATE 2021 will enable distributors of tourism products to interact with suppliers and distributors in the value chain to establish relationships necessary for business sustainability.
  4. Relationship Building; POATE 2021 will present the opportunity for online networking by key stakeholders in the tourism industry; it will also provide a useful platform for stakeholders to explore co-operative exchanges and activities.

Uganda Tourism Board is hopeful that the global vaccination will activate the recommencement of international tourists into the country; certainly, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the tourism industry is on the road to recovery, with 2021 projected to be better than 2020, with a rebound expected in 2022.

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