POPE FRANCIS’S VISIT TO UGANDA BASED TO PROMOTE FAITH TOURISM AND UGANDA SAFARIS
Uganda hosted Pope Francis recently and this has generated several benefits .Infrastructure like Namugongo Road has been renovated and the Catholic Martyrs museum has been refurbished .At the Protestant shrine , a martyrs has been constructed .Ecumenism has been strengthened through enhancing inter- denominational co-operation among Catholics, Muslims and Protestants at Namugongo .The Pope’s visit has given Uganda great publicity as a faith – based tourism destination given its status as the Uganda land of the Martyrs Namugongo and other safaris like gorilla tracking by Travel Hemispheres too the destinations. There were also dividends of a reconciliatory attitude .
As Ugandans, we may wish to consider taking these gains a step further .Besides the country’s martyrdom status ,Namugongo could be recognized as a peace ,Reconciliation and conflict resolution centre targeting families , institutions and nations where they could retreat to reflect on their differences and forge an amicable solution for the common good of humanity .In remembrance of Pope Francis ‘s visit ,November 25- 27 could annually be put aside as the for promoting faith – based tourism in Uganda .The commemoration of his visit should , on these days highlight his message of peace, love , forgiveness and care for the disabled. This event could be promoted globally , regionally and domestically in order to generate tourism traffic to Uganda leading business for tour operator and all Uganda safaris the other players along the value chain.
Uganda’s mission to Rome and the Vatican should be supported to promote Uganda and Namugongo as the land of martyrs through linking up with the Vatican for visibility in their media and publicity programmers which target millions of the catholic faith fuls on the matters regarding the Ugandan to commemorate the lives of pilgrims to Uganda to commemorate the lives of those who have been canonized.
The support in promoting tourism may require recruitment of a Vatican based tourism marketing specialist to design packages and messages targeting the millions of pilgrims to the Vatican, production of tourism promotional materials in the languages used in the target market namely Italian, French ,Spanish , etc.
Familiarization trips for Italian- based travel writers should be initiated and supported leading tour operator to visit Uganda and generate favourable appeal about the country as the land of the martyrs. The embassy should be staffed with some knowledgeable personnel in tourism promotion and digital marketing for purposes of co- ordinating tourism marketing I Italy and the Vatican .The embassy should be branded to depict Uganda’s unique faith – based tourist destination in which all the Catholic faithful in the world should endeavour to make a pilgrimage to Uganda during heir life time, as is the case with other faithful like the Muslims travel to Mecca for the Hijja and Christians to Jerusalem. Since the resource allocation to the Uganda Tourism Board has been significant upscalled coupled with the World Bank Competitiveness Enterprise Development Project loan which also caters for tourism promotion , increased access to this new market should be less cumbersome.
In order people to benefit spiritually , the management of Namugongo could plan well to have special healing prayers on certain days of the week like Father Magembe of Bukalango who is known for special healing prayers and many others. Thus visiting people to go back with spiritual healing and body healing.Uganda is famous for mountain gorilla safaris another unique attraction not anywhere other than Rwanda