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Uganda uses agriculture to boost tourist arrivals

[Photo provided to China Daily]

About 75 kilometers north of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, tourists armed with knives hunt for ripe pineapples in a 1.6-hectare garden in Luwero district.

It's an experience that tour operators are packaging to tourists, especially those from Asia.

Uganda is known for rich fauna and flora, sprawling hills, magnificent landscapes, the world's biggest mountain gorilla population, national parks, over 1,200 bird species, friendly people, beautiful weather and diverse cultures.

Tour operators are also using pineapples to develop agritourism.

Bic Tours' director, Samuel Mugisha, says travelers enjoy the gardens and participating in the cultivation process.

"We are introducing tourists to the idea of appreciating how pineapples are farmed," he says.

"We take them to the garden, where they get to learn about the process of planting the pineapples, how they are harvested and get to go on a 'hunting' expedition before enjoying the pineapples."

Tourists are given blades and sent to search for the biggest ripe fruit. Fields can have up to 20,000 pineapples.

A farm manager assesses their harvests and rewards the person with the best specimen.

The area hosts most of the country's pineapple production. The fruit is exported to Europe and Asia.

And Uganda hopes to increase the number of Chinese visitors.

"The Chinese have toured all the other continents in the world, and now they have special interest in Africa," says Daudi Migereko, chairperson of the Uganda Tourism Board.

"They come as tourists but also as investors. So, we need to up our game and ensure that we market Uganda as a special country within Africa where they can come and enjoy their holidays."

Migereko says the government is in the process of hiring a public relations firm to engage Chinese tour operators, airlines and other companies.

Uganda's embassy in China and consulate in Guangzhou are also working to market the country, he says.

The tourism board has already staged such promotional activities as road shows in such cities as Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai.

Private operators will be able to offer Chinese diverse experiences beyond visiting such major destinations as national parks.

Uganda's tourism industry generates about $1.5 billion annually and expects to double the figure by 2020.

Source:Xinhua  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Uganda uses agriculture to boost tourist arrivals)