The Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA)was established in July 1998 to empower local communities in sustainable development through small-scale tourism and handcraft enterprises, also known as community tourism. Community tourism aims to involve local people in the planning, decision-making and implementation of tourism development activities. This form of tourism assures that the benefits stay as much as possible in the local community.
To date UCOTA has grown into 42 active member-groups countrywide, representing about 2,121 individuals of whom 64% are women.The groups operate small enterprises ranging from accommodation, guiding services, and restaurants to craft shops and music, dance and drama performances. Most of the groups fund a community projects, such as clinics, schools, water sources and literacy programs.
Pearls of Uganda is a marketing program of Uganda Community tourism Association (UCOTA) made up of authentic cultural community attractions and experiences located throughout Uganda, the country described by Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa”!
When planning a trip to Uganda be sure to visit these pearls to experience real cultural encounters that will be an inspiring and memorable addition to your Ugandan wildlife safari. Cultural and community encounters include drumming performances and lessons, village walks, medicinal plant demonstrations, handcraft workshops and shopping, community-run accommodations and restaurants + more!
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• Capacity building: UCOTA members are trained in various aspects of tourism development such as business skills, guiding, bird watching, hospitality, handcrafts, group dynamics, site management, conservation of natural and cultural resources.
• Marketing: UCOTA members’ tourism products and services become part of international marketing efforts through the Pearls of Uganda program
• Advocacy: UCOTA creates a platform for members’ voices to be heard at all levels.
• Networking: UCOTA’s network brings members, partners and stakeholders together for dialogue and allows members to join forces, giving all interested parties an opportunity to interact.
• Conservation: UCOTA emphasises conservation of natural and cultural resources communities utilise as tourism resources (attractions). Conservation is aimed at attaining sustainability of the projects and minimising negative environmental impact.
• Resource mobilization: UCOTA engages in fundraising activities for both members and the organisation.