Novel and innovative ways of marketing and promoting culture based tourism for the improvement of community livelihoods
Kalule, Abdul Salaam
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Like most countries in the world, culture-based tourism in Uganda can form a crucial part of community livelihood development by providing market for locally made goods and services, catalyzing physical infrastructure development as well as enabling access to direct and indirect jobs. Various studies have showed that communities living around cultural sites in Uganda have for long been characterized by poor livelihoods in many aspects, despite their proximity to such sites. Yet, tourism based on cultural as well as natural resources is a tested means to enhance livelihoods of such communities. Heritage and cultural tourism marketing plays a significant role to attract tourists in such cultural destinations because well-planned marketing of these cultural destinations is a primary requirement to attract both foreign and domestic tourists. Innovative marketing is perhaps the most powerful marketing weapon available to contemporary tourism destination marketers confronted by tourists who are increasingly seeking lifestyle fulfillment and experiences. Taking the Wamala tombs in Buganda kingdom as a case study, this study examined the novel and innovative ways of marketing and promoting culture based tourism to improve community livelihoods. The research followed a descriptive survey nature and adopted the qualitative Research approach. The research engaged the following categories of respondents; local community members, local leaders, management and staff of Wamala cultural heritage site, stakeholders like individuals at Uganda Tourism Board, Members of Parliament on the Tourism committee, tour operators and some tourists. The sampling strategy used to select representatives used was probability sampling or random sampling and a random selection of 60 households from a group of 100 households was done. A clean electronic database was created to correct and clarify the raw data sources after which data files where imported into the data analysis software, particularly excel and SPSS and another qualitative data analysis software. Results from the study indicated that currently Wamala cultural site is being marketed by the word of mouth, targeting the visitors who do visit the site for the first place (77% of respondents). Results also showed that 76% of the responses agree that maintenance costs of marketing equipment are high which sometimes affects the electronic-marketing operations of Wamala Cultural site. Results from the field indicated that people especially the local citizens around the Wamala cultural site should be involved in tourism planning and development of the site such that they can benefit more from the site. Further field results indicated that (50%) of the respondents agreed that there is need to put proper and the modern means of the infrastructure that would enable people and the visitors do access the cultural site easily. The study concluded that Wamala Cultural site can be popularized through introducing cultural based tourism awards, advertising with prominent sports clubs, increased funding for cultural based tourism sites and giving culture based tourism a full ministry, and putting in places proper and modern means of access to the cultural sites like roads as suggested. The study recommends that The Uganda Tourism Associations like UTB should organize both tourism workshops and seminars in order to equip local community with enough knowledge and skills to use the available tourism opportunities at Wamala Cultural Site.