CEO of Sights and Sounds of Africa Presents Outstanding Paper at AUTO's 20th Anniversary
Mr. Celestine Katongole, the founder and CEO of Sights & Sounds of Africa Safaris delivered a keynote speech to hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Association of Uganda Tours Operators (AUTO) at Kampala's Fairway Hotel
"Excellent presentation" and "well researched paper" were the comments from the Minster of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Maria Mutagamba on the paper presented by Celestine Katongole on 27th October 2015 at Fairway Hotel Kampala. Celestine was talking about the Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities for AUTO under the World Tourism Day theme; One billion tourists, One billion opportunities. In a well researched presentation, Celestine revealed the growing importance of tourism in Uganda and challenged tour operators, and other actors across the tourism value chain to take full advantage of tourism opportunities. He mentioned Uganda's diverse culture, rich biodiversity, friendly people, good weather and a rich history as resources presenting unlimited opportunities to tourism operators. He ably identified business opportunities within the domestic market segment, the regional market and the key international markets, urging tour operators to refocus their activities. "There are numerous opportunities for forging partnerships with key outbound operators in the source markets in North America, Europe and Asia because there are thousands of such potential partners looking for credible business people in Africa", he said.
Celestine challenged tour operators to have at least five suppliers each in at least 4 source markets. He particularly urged the tour operators to specialise in certain markets and products and avoid the witch doctor's syndrome - serving every body's needs. "Tourism is an international business, so tour operators have to internationalize operations: internal operations, marketing, partnership management, service delivery –every respect of business", he advised. Celestine further advised each tour operator to position herself as the best by among others: investing into knowledge about chosen market segments; upholding a strong professional standard with partners and clients; remaining persistent, working hard and staying focused; taking advantage of ICTs; and focusing on cash flow management and not profit as a main goal.
Celestine's presentation was discussed by panelists from Makerere University, the Ministry of Tourism, Uganda Tourism Board, the Civil Society as well as the tourism private sector. All the panelists applauded his excellent presentation and articulation of issues. Of course Celestine is such a professional tourism expert with extensive knowledge, gained through research, consultancy, and private sector operations. Indeed, Hon. Maria Mutagamba encouraged him to continue educating sector players. "You should always hold such forums and invite knowledgeable people like Celestine to educate our people", she advised.