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Uganda Tourism Board to help grow “Ugawood” into a global African cinematic experience

By Gavin Prins

Film has a great way of influencing the mindset of people, which is why the Uganda Tourism Board has its eyes fixed on international filmmakers, including Hollywood, to make use of their landscapes for future productions.

They want more tourists to visit Uganda because of the food, the culture and the mountains, says UTB CEO Lilly Ajarova during an interview in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she attended Meetings Africa.

The UTB has developed an aggressive plan to draw more attention to the “Pearl of Africa” by investing, together with other partners, in the film industry. Without elaborating on the exact amounts, she says their financial support to filmmakers will undoubtedly boost the tourism industry and, ultimately, the economy.

“We are investing in films as a way of reaching out to the international community. We want people to know that Uganda has one of the best landscapes in the world. We have lots of forests, rivers and mountains. There is so much for any film-maker,” she said.

The Ugandan film industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in Africa. The industry, commonly known as Ugawood, and sometimes referred to as Kinauganda by the locals, has been touted by many as the next big industry in Africa. With a knack for telling compelling African stories, the industry has grown since the production of “Feelings Struggle”, the first Ugawood movie.

Speaking to the media, Arajova has urged the international film community to use Uganda as a backdrop to their blockbusters as part of a new tourism strategy to increase visitors.

She said the support is for both local and international productions intending to film in Uganda. This support comes on the back of calls by local film-makers for the government to support the industry by investing more money in their films.

“We are passionate about this plan, so much so that, a few years ago, we started a film festival to showcase our talent. We are encouraging youth to go into film and tell our African stories. We want them to show Hollywood what we are doing.

“We will continue to invest in raising awareness and positioning Uganda as the premier tourism destination in Africa. With our breathtaking landscapes, Uganda stands out as an ideal destination for travellers seeking a unique African experience,” said Arajova.

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