Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) is the official umbrella body that brings together and advocates for the interests of community tourism groups in Uganda to ensure that the local tourist host communities benefit from tourism.
Since its inception, UCOTA’s functions and scope of operations have grown tremendously across the country. To date, the association comprises over 70 member groups country wide, representing 2,121 individuals of whom 63% are women. The groups operate small tourism enterprises ranging from Traditional/ basic accommodation, interpretive guiding services and restaurants to craft shops, music dance and drama performances.
The impact of the community tourism group enterprises to the livelihoods of the locals is already manifesting through a number of community projects supported by the groups by way of responsible tourism such as construction of clinics, schools, provision of safe water and literacy programs.
To spearhead sustainable Community Based Tourism in collaboration with stakeholders in a bid to enhance community benefits, promoting quality standards, ownership and conservation of natural and cultural resources for better livelihoods.
To see Uganda as a vibrant community tourism destination positively contributing to the livelihoods of people in the country.
Capacity building: UCOTA trains her members in various fields of tourism development such as business skills, interpretive guiding, bird watching, hospitality, handcrafts, group dynamics, site management, conservation of natural and cultural resources.
Marketing: Our Marketing is done through the Pearls of Uganda program and other promotion campaigns and initiatives such as creating linkages between UCOTA members and tour operators in order to ensure that UCOTA members’ products and packages are featured into tour operators’ itineraries and tourism promotional activities such as social media campaigns,production and dissemination of brochures. UCOTA also plays a role in coordinating, encouraging and ensuring that members participate in both local, regional and international tourism fairs, giving them a platform to showcase and sell their products and services.
Advocacy: As the umbrella body, UCOTA has created a platform for members’ voices to be heard at all levels.
Networking: UCOTA’s broad network brings members, partners and stakeholders together, creating a forum for dialogue and enabling members to create business connectivity amongst themselves and opening up to the vast opportunities and lessons that they can learn from each other.
Conservation: At UCOTA, we underscore the importance of conservation of natural and cultural resources which communities utilize as tourism resources (attractions) for sustainable livelihood, project sustainability as well as minimizing negative environmental impact.
Resource mobilization: In a bid to ensure sustainable operations for both the organization and it’s members, UCOTA engages in fundraising activities.
Board of directors
The UCOTA constitution mandates the executive committee with the responsibility for giving strategic direction for the organization, resource mobilization for sustainable operations and ensuring effective management as well as safeguarding and promoting organizational values and helping in membership growth.
The strength of UCOTA greatly lies in our warm and hospitable staff team that possesses vast combined, decades of experience in community based tourism. The team has expertise in product development, community mobilization, capacity building, conservation, and community networks. Our staff team is currently composed of six full time staff members as given below;
1- Executive Director – Helen Lubowa
2- Field Officer – Felex Kamalha
3- Field Officer – Paulo Lubega
4- Accountant/Administrator – Jennifer Magala
in addition, every year, we always get two volunteer staff every year, from a regional staff exchange program in East Africa.
Being one of our core activities, UCOTA organizes and conducts trainings for both its members and non-members in a range of activities/ topics basing on the training manual. The common topics of the trainings we conduct include;
-Community enterprise concept development
-Community business plan development
-Community operations planning
-Community interpretive guiding and tour planning
-Community product sales and marketing
-People of Uganda/ ethnicity
-Product development (Tourism and handcraft)
Having been in the field for more than a decade with a multitude of knowledge from our experienced staff, UCOTA offers consultancy programs and services to clients and stakeholders at an affordable and negotiable fee. Our consultancy services are multidimensional but mainly focus on the fields of tourism, project management and community programs among others.