On October 26, 2013, 22-year-old Harriet Nakitto was crowned “Miss Tourism Uganda” in a VIP ceremony held at Kampala’s Sheraton hotel. The event illustrated Uganda’s renewed focus on drawing more attention to its tourism attractions. Attending the ceremony were many local tourism leaders, including the Minister of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities, Hon. Dr. Maria Mutagamba, who was responsible for reviving the “Miss Tourism” pageant last held two decades ago. Ms. Nakitto will represent Uganda at the “Miss Tourism International” contest to be held in Malaysia in December 2013.
The “Miss Tourism Uganda” ceremony, which featured performances by Ugandan musicians and dancers, attracted many local and international media representatives. Ms. Mutagamba commented, “Uganda’s Miss Tourism will serve as an ambassador of our country both locally and internationally, making people more aware of the great tourism appeal of Uganda, the ‘Pearl of Africa’.”
World’s attention on Uganda’s Tourism Potential
At the “Miss Tourism” ceremony, Hon. Dr. Mutagamba commented, “The whole world is watching Uganda now because of the ideal conditions to see the hybrid solar eclipse that attracts thousands of international visitors to Pakwach on the 3rd of November, 2013, so what better time to promote Ugandan beauty? This “Miss Tourism” event highlights the transformation of Uganda and its tourism potential.”
Before the ceremony, Ms. Nakitto and eight other finalists traveled the world representing their country thanks to the support of Brussels Airlines, Kenya Airways, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Turkish Airlines and Uganda’s own Air Uganda. The contestants also visited Uganda’s top tourism attractions, including Murchison Falls, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley national parks, and the source of the Nile.
Tourism minister Hon. Mutagamba explained that contestants were chosen not only for their beauty but also for their intelligence and poise. She says, “Ms. Nakitto will be tasked with showcasing Uganda’s diverse and rich tourism offerings and with increasing public-private participation in our country’s tourism development.”