A journalist, television and radio producer and Public Relations (PR) consultant, Charity Katago is a happy natured, social, outgoing lady. She currently runs Riverwood Communications Limited, a communications consultancy agency which specializes in integrated strategic communications. She is a lover of travel and tourism and all things artistic.
How important is PR and communication for a travel and tourism destination?
PR and Communication is fundamental for a travel and tourism destination just like it is for any other trade or sector. Content, visuals, story-telling, testimonials are all key in communicating the attributes of a destination. A well thought out and structured PR strategy and Plan can help achieve a very cost effective marketing strategy for a tourism destination.
What are the stick out cardinals in marketing a tourism and travel destination?
In my view, a proper definition and understanding of the target audiences, proper key messaging for the target market and the use of the right communication tools go a long way in the correct positioning of tourism destinations.
Have you been to Uganda?
Yes, a number of times for different things.
What are your impressions of destination Uganda?
It is a beautiful destination, well-endowed with great natural resources including lush greenery, lots of food, beautiful lakes and mountains and a happy people.
What would bring you or get you returning to Uganda?
To explore the various natural resources. The mountains, the gorillas and the lakes. I would particularly like to explore Jinja that I have heard lots about. I also have heard lots about night life but I am not sure I still have energy for that. However, from a journalist point of view I think I would like to observe and see how that goes down.
What would you do better if given a chance to manage the communication and promotion of destination Uganda?
I wouldn’t say better, I think I just would possibly have something to contribute to the selling of this beautiful destination with all its flora and fauna and very wealthy natural resources, especially from the point of having more of the locals involved in selling the destination which then means allowing them the opportunities to explore, enjoy and experience the product and become the ambassadors for destination Uganda.
Do you think East Africa can benchmark on promoting as a single destination?
Yes, and I think it is already happening through the launch of products like the Single Tourist Visa that would allow East Africa Citizens to travel across borders with just their Identification Cards (IDs).
If only such initiatives and more can be used to promote cohesiveness across the borders, then the winners can only be the East African population where the different countries would leverage on each other’s strengths and weaknesses to sell a super destination; destination East Africa. It has happened in destinations in other continents like Europe which means it is not impossible.
What lessons can Uganda learn from Kenya as a more established tourism destination?
I think both destinations are doing an excellent job in selling the uniqueness of each of their respective destinations only that Kenya has been longer at it and may have a more advanced marketing structure built over the years of experience.
The best thing I have witnessed is the collaboration between the two countries in selling East Africa as a destination through the Single Tourist Visa Campaign.
What are your top travel destinations, and why?
Kenya. I love Kenya. I love exploring and visiting different places in Kenya. The diversity of the tourism products in Kenya is what makes me love the destination.
Every other day I discover something new I would like to experience, explore, enjoy. I have always told myself I will only be ready to fully explore other places once I am through with Kenya.
That said, I loved Cape Town when I visited. It was scenic, clean, the Table Mountains were something to behold and the malls and shopping experience was not bad. The food at the waterfront restaurants was also a memorable experience. The wine too.
What makes or breaks your travel experience?
Bad customer service, unfriendly staff, lack of attention to detail, impersonal service.
What or who is on your bucket list?
South of France is on my bucket list. Purely from reading lots about it that captivated my attention from when I was a girl and up to now I still have it top of mind.
I also still want to come to Jinja and fully explore Uganda as a destination. I have read and seen a lot of content especially from you Edgar that makes me feel like I know and have seen very little of destination Uganda.