By Ambrose Gahene
Uganda is set to attract more French into the country following an impressive performance that pulled crowds and set a mark on the French; at a grand exhibition that included cultural presentations during France’s most significant event, Bastille Day recently. The much sought-after premier event known at the Diplomatic Garden Party is an annual occasion organized on Bastille Day alongside other celebrations.
This year, Uganda was chosen as one of four countries to exhibit at the Diplomatic Garden Party organized by the Uganda Embassy in Paris and facilitated by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).
Uganda exhibited Tourism, Investment, Culture, Heritage and Cuisine at the most prestigious event of the day, the Diplomatic Garden Party, held at Boise de Boulogne, an upper-middle and high-end western Paris suburb. The Uganda Embassy in France, UTB, tourism private sector along with the Uganda Embassy in France hosted over 500 guests who were entertained by a Paris-based Ugandan dance troupe and ensemble.
Uganda was the only country that had a cultural troupe at the extravaganza. The other countries were Croatia, Suriname and Gabon. During the garden exhibition, the guests joined in the crowd-puller Ugandan music and danced and at the finale, chorused “Vive Uganda!”.
After the performance many visitors came to the Ugandans pavilion to get more information on the country and inquiries have started to come in.
The Uganda pavilion exhibited tourism attractions, investment, agriculture, trade, oil and gas.
The guests, who were there by invitation, mainly consisted of top diplomats accredited to France, influential business, corporate and government officials. Uganda was one of four countries represented at the event that took place alongside the celebrations taking place at the Champs Elysees. The main celebration venue of the Bastille Day; was also attended by US president Donald Trump and other world leaders. The Uganda Tourism Board was led by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stephen Asiimwe, the Marketing Manager, Mr. Edwin Muzahura and the Senior Marketing Officer, Ms. Sylvia Kalembe. Uganda’s private sector was led by the Chairperson of the Association of the Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), Ms. Barbara Adorso Vanhelleputte and Ms. Marinka San George. Ms. Vanhelleputte is also the owner of Asyanut Safaris, while Marinka is a Director at Let’s Go Travel in Kampala.
Under tourism, UTB showcased wildlife, nature, food, culture and heritage.The premier event’s organizer, VFC Group CEO, Mr. Didier Vidal, said Uganda’s performance was “Fantastic!’ He said the Uganda team was very organized and added color and flavor to Bastille Day. He was glad Uganda participated and added this would pay off eventually. “We applied to exhibit at this very competitive opportunity and I am glad UTB and the tourism private sector were very quick to embrace our partnership with them,” said Ambassador Nimisha Madhvani.
The Uganda embassy was also represented by Amb. Elly Kamahungye and Ms. Dora Kutesa amoung others. “France looks promising. The embassy has done a lot under the leadership of Amb. Nimisha and the Uganda team there. We hope to make inroads by engaging French Tour operators and media, training embassy staff on destination marketing and branding the Uganda Embassy,” says UTB CEO, Stephen Asiimwe. Total, the multi-national oil company with operations in Uganda was also a sponsor of Uganda’s participation.