Tour operators: the heart of the blossoming Ugandan tourism industry

Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO)

Programme Coach
Griet Geudens
Expert Team
Bart De Swaef
Ann Winnepenincx
Filip Nicasi
Petra Venekamp
Company partner
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The Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) represents the interests of Ugandan tour operators. Tourism in Uganda is increasing in importance as an economic activity. Every year, more than 200,000 tourists enter the country. Virtually all of them do so under the guidance of a tour operator. There’s no need to give any further explanation for why tour operators are the heart of the tourism sector.  

Tour operators bring tourists into contact with the right touristic services and activities. They are responsible for 90% of the bookings in safari lodges. Plus, they are also responsible for 90% of the income from the Bwindi Impenetrable National Parkmost prominently known as the home of the iconic mountain gorilla. It is one of Uganda’s most important tourist draws and is always handled with great care and pride.  

A smartly organized network

The growing popularity of tourism in Uganda has resulted in an increase in the client portfolio of the organisation. But there is also a flip sideeveryone wants their piece of the pie, but they are not always pursuing it with honesty or in a sustainable manner. There are many unprofessional and unexperienced operators who decide to start their own businesses without thinking things through. The great drop-out of members within the organisation is partially explained by the enormous number of operators who close their doors after a relatively short time.

To come to a more sustainable working method for the many tour operators, Exchange and AUTO entered into a three-year partnership. The partnership aims to provide a consultation platform in co-creation with the tour operator. This will eventually lead to more professionalisation. The focus will lie wholly on incoming tourism from abroadit is currently the most important market.  

Seeing the central and linking role played by AUTO in the Ugandan tourism landscape, other Ugandan partners also want to come on board. This will allow the services of various players in the sector to be better tuned to each other, resulting in a well-oiled tourism machine. Do you have upcoming travel plans? The Ugandan tour operators are at your service!  

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