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Who We Are?

We are the people of Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism Development. Based in Fort Portal Tourism City (the tourism capital of Uganda), Kitara Foundation is aimed at strengthening coordination, promotion, and preservation of tourism ecosystem services relevant for job skills creation while ensuring continuous benefits of tourism to the local people of Kitara region and their economies. We also focus at strengthening community resilience, protecting nature & preserving the Cultural Heritage of the people of Kitara region (Keep Kitara green and black).

The Kitara Foundation aims at coordinating different areas of Tourism within the Kitara region which comprises sub-regions of Tooro, Bunyoro, Ankole, Rwenzori and Kigezi. The establishment of the Network works to a regional cooperation among tourism actors, stakeholders and their communities.  

We are a social enterprise involved in regional Tourism Development aimed at improving community livelihoods, protecting nature & preserving cultural heritage. We do this by providing direct employment in our work, developing tourism products, regional tourism marketing and coordination of tourism industry in the region.

The Foundation is responsible for furthering tourism coordination between Fort Portal Tourism City and all the districts of Kitara region namely; Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kagadi, Kibale, Hoima, Bulisa, Masindi, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Bunyangabu, Kasese, Kamwenge, Ibanda, Mbarara, Mbarara city, Buhweju, Kazo, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Isingiro, Rwampala, Ntungamo, Kabale, Rukiga, Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukungiri, Mitooma, Shema, Bushenyi and Rubirizi. 

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Our Vision: A Sustainable Competitive Tourism and hospitality Industry in Western Uganda (the Kitara Region).

Our Goal: The leading Facilitator of Tourism and hospitality development, well equipped for a tourism transforming mission in the Kitara Region (Western Uganda).

Our Mission: To Contribute to the transformation of the Tourism and hospitality industry in Western Uganda through Networking, marketing, building linkages and community participation in the regional Tourism and hospitality development industry.

We are true citizens of Kitara region, our organization is locally owned, we hire and develop local talent. We aim at investing in local growth, the well-being of our people and the health of the local economy. Citizenship begins at home.

We integrate both conventional and community tourism (Call it Development Tourism) in our work in order to maximize the benefits to the local population

Tourism development is therefore at the core of our operations. We focus on rural areas affected most by decline in the capacity of agriculture. Degeneration of the countryside is prevented and cultural heritage preserved by raising supplementary family income through tourism.

We focus on identifying potential tourism destinations and activities, building community capacity through education and creating demand through marketing and packaging.

Our strength is in sharing information and full participation. We stand for a meaningful experience by spending time with the community. Discover the countryside in this region during nature walks, community visits and mountain hiking.  Share daily life with the community by spending a day or night in a traditional homestead.

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We have Identified Needs for success of the regional tourism and hospitality sector in Kitara

  • Community involvement and sensitization about tourism and conservation of biodiversity
  • Providing access to tourism policy frameworks for all actors
  • Providing mapping of tourism potential destinations and activities (profiling)
  • Coordination with all the tourism stakeholders and partners in the region
  • Creation of a regional tourism and hospitality private sector platform
  • Advocating and attracting more tourism partners to the region
  • Capacity building for tourism and hospitality actors
  • Resource mobilization capacity for all tourism actors
  • Peace building among the tourism actors
  • Building Public relations, marketing and advertising
  • Improvement of tourism infrastructure such as roads and hotel
  • Product development, diversification and specialization
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Key action points for Kitara Foundation for Regional Tourism

The objectives for which the organization is established are: –

  1. To establish a Tourism Coordination Center for improvement of Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the region.
  • To Support district-led tourism platforms for more coordination, partnership, collaboration and sharing knowledge and information.
  • To support documentation of tourism destinations in each district and advocate for their development
  • To support local tourism operators in each district in acquiring permits and other requirements from authorities.
  • To engage with District Local Governments, Uganda Wildlife Authority, National Forest Authority, Uganda Tourism Board and other established mechanisms.
  • To support community awareness activities, sensitization, capacity building and skilling the youth to labor market demanded skills in tourism.
  • To support development of the required labor for the tourism sector in the region by equipping the youth with relevant and demanded skills.
  • To support Improvement of infrastructure such as roads, hotels, museums, electricity, water and security in the region.
  • To support local tourism private sector in registration with District Community Development Offices and Sub County Community Development Offices.
  • To support Private sector tourism stakeholders in spearheading communication and sensitization of District Local Governments and Sub Counties on the tourism and hospitality sector development in general.
    • To support the regional tourism Coordination Network for the sustainability of the coordination platforms, to streamline the communication and support regional tourism development activities.
    • Support and contribute to the development of a Tourism City in the region; i.e. Developing Fort Portal City to become a centre of Tourism excellency in the region.
    • Support Annual regional tourism stakeholder meetings/conferences, taking place in different districts in the region
    • Hold Tourism Exhibition (KTE) each year which will always be hosted in Fort Portal involving participants from different districts of the region.
    • Support Resource mobilization capacity for the tourism and hospitality industry actors in the region
    • Support Government departments and District Local Governments to share policies related to tourism and conservation with all tourism stakeholders.
    • Support Development of online platforms where all mapped tourism destinations are shared for use to the public.
    • Support coordination of the Pro-active promotion of Public Private Partnerships in regional tourism development and investment.
    • Support environmental conservation and preservation of culture by utilization of indigenous knowledge, planting of indigenous trees and protecting the African good cultures (Keep Africa green and Black campaign).
    • Support diversification of the regional tourist products by specialization through doing market research, benchmarking and trainings in tourism marketing.
    • Support the implementation of the Justice and peace building activities among tourism stakeholders in the region and the tourists in the region
    • Support implementation of a Tourists’ complaints and suggestions desk. Complaints and suggestions will be received from tourists and actors to acknowledge, coordinate and communicate to the respective departments and authorities for consideration and processing with the relevant matters.
    • To promote the social development, advancement and the general wellbeing of the inhabitants of the communities in the operation area.
    • To educate and train members of the community and to sensitize the general public through conducting seminars, workshops, conferences, advertisements, shows and any other mode that may be appropriate and in conformity with the objectives of the organization.
    • To establish, reserve and develop a database and to disseminate and distribute tourism and hospitality information to and for the benefit of the community.
    • To champion, promote, support and protect the development and welfare of the communities of the region and to ensure harmony and cooperation amongst community members and the tourism industry.
    • To lobby and liaise with government, relevant institutions, civic authorities and organizations with similar objective in the formulation and implementation of policy, and planning of matters connected with Tourism and hospitality services.
      • To support the use and transfer of modern technologies among the members of the tourism sector within the community.
      • To support the adoption of highest level of tourism standards for the community within the framework of national policies.
      • To initiate, conduct and coordinate tourism research programs for the good of the community.
      • To support creation of local forums where the community will exchange ideas and information about the improvement and maintenance of tourism standards in the region
      • To support mutual networking among the members of the community and the tourism sector, offer advice on joint planning, implementation and sharing of information.
      • To support and promote relationships with other related organizations in Uganda and elsewhere in the world for the purpose of furthering the objectives of the organization.
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      Why Kitara Foundation for Regional Network:

      The characteristics of the Kitara region and its tourism market potential make regional tourism cooperation necessary, and even essential.  If International tourists visit the region, few would visit one district only.  Normally they visit 2-3 or even 4-5 districts in one travel trip.  The goal of the Network certainly is to attract as many International tourists as possible to visit the region, because traveling around this region has been a very clear and attractive opportunity for international tourists who come to Uganda. In fact, the region accounts for 75% of Uganda’s overall tourism industry.

      For future visitors, the Foundation in the first place is reliable, and it can provide first-hand information.  For tourism professionals or agencies, the network can provide a powerful platform to find working partners with each other, and they can take this platform to develop high-class tourism products tailored for international and local tourists.  At the same time, the network also shoulders the important task on making new travel routes, which can provide new opportunities for Ugandan travel agencies, and will provide convenience for promotion of regional tourism.  In order to maintain continuous high-level consultations, tourism industry leaders of the 33 Local governments (districts, cities and municipalities) will hold meeting once a year.

      Each year, the Foundation, involving tourism partners and stakeholders in the region will hold the largest tourism activity in the country, namely Kitara Tourism Exhibition (KTE) which will always be hosted in Fort Portal, the tourism capital of Uganda. Participants from different districts who attend these annual events will share latest trends of Uganda’s tourism industry within the framework of a professional forum.

      Uganda’s tourism market is currently growing fastest in the region, and at the same time also changing at the top speed with ever growing new demands, which requires the tourism industry to update and change all the time, and to develop corresponding products to meet with challenges. The role of Kitara Tourism Coordination Network as a regional coordinator will be increasingly strengthened, which prospectively will be reflected on the number of tourists to the region.

      The Foundation plans to launch series of seminars on tourism routes and product development in all participating districts. Summary reports from these seminars will always share communication services for tourism route executions, and suggestions in the field of brand and market service.

      With the help of Uganda’s National Tourism Board, Kitara Foundation could directly acquire real-time tourism tendency information about Uganda tourism market, and even the entire East Africa and the whole world. Those information plays vital role in strategy planning.

      The main goal of the Network is that the Network could evenly and fairly represent 33 districts in tourism every event and project.  The Network will help to maintain daily work communication with Uganda National Tourism Board and Ministry of Tourism, while keeping contact with district coordinators in the 33 districts

      The Foundation’s long-term target is to develop into a headquarter receiving trust from all parties who could spontaneously reach it as long as national and regional problems related to tourism occurred, and firmly believe they could receive effective and practical help.  Of course the main task is to convey information to the district tourism bodies, precisely the information related with Uganda tourism products and other professional information. We believe that tourism and business relations based on long-run trust could only be established by mutual understanding.

      The mission of the Foundation is to collect and share information and connect tourism stakeholders – business ventures, national tourism organizations and ministries. By promoting the region as a single and unique destination, the Network supports the cooperating districts to be more visible in the Uganda’s tourism market.

      The Foundation is seated in Fort Portal City which is the Uganda’s Tourism City. Its work is supported by the national tourism board and District tourism offices in each district. This cooperation is expected to result into an extended partner network in the business sphere in in the region. 

      At the Foundation we document the region’s geography, the region’s natural, cultural and tourism resources. You will get to know about the main characteristics of Kitara tourism and the travel habits of tourism visitors, tourism managers and tourism destinations. You will learn about the most important tourism policy measures of the Ugandan government and the new technologies that help the development of tourism. Finally, you will even get tips of travel with recommended itineraries.

      The Foundation will introduce you to the history and main goals of the Uganda National Tourism Board and the Kitara Tourism Coordination NetworkYou will learn about the joint activities of the Foundation and tourism offices in each district in order to build the best tourism brand. You will receive a summary of the development of tourism traffic in the region. We will share with you how the participating districts and destinations are maintaining their presence in the industry at different times.  

      At the Foundation, we will highlight for you the role that Ugandan government is playing in developing and marketing tourism industry. We will explain to you the stages that Uganda has gone through to become a regional leader in tourism. We will introduce you to the main drivers of development and you will understand the link between the major reforms of the government, the increasing living standard of the population and the impressive performance of Uganda’s tourism in the past times. We will provide you with reliable early forecasts about the different tourism seasons in the region. Finally, will give you some useful advice on how your company should prepare for the market in the Uganda’s tourism industry. 

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      Our Home Fort Portal Tourism City: Fort Portal City located in Western Uganda (Kitara) region about 300km from Uganda’s Capital Kampala was launched as the Tourism Capital of Uganda on 1st July 2020.

      Uganda’s tourism increased highly in the 2018/2019 financial year whereby 1,505,669 International tourists were registered and over $1.6 billion was received from international tourists, making the country’s tourism sector the top foreign exchange earner. Of this total number of tourists, over 70% visited Kitara, a region that accounts for 75% of Uganda’s Natural Tourism destinations. Over 60% of the tourists visited more than two districts in the region. Beautiful people, beautiful nature, unique environment and serenity are some of the descriptions that spark people when they set foot in Fort Portal.

      Fort Portal Tourism City at the foot of Rwenzori Mountains is currently known to be the cleanest town in Uganda and a gateway to various nature destinations including National Parks such as Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori, Toro-Semuliki Wildlife reserves, Lake Mburo, Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga. It is famous for the stalagmites and Nyakasura waterfalls linked to the rich Chwezi culture.

      Lying in mid-western Uganda, Fort Portal also Tooro kingdom’s capital is at the central position to the most beautiful sceneries and unique environment nature has to offer on earth giving you access to numerous crater lakes, hills, mountains, endemic fauna and flora and one of the most beautiful, serene and hospitable people you can find, the Batooro that comprise the majority of the population.

      Fort Portal has in the last couple of years been sought as Uganda’s pearl of Tourism since it’s strategically located in the heart of most of the major tourism sites and activities in Uganda found in the Albertine region prompting the government to consider it in the National Development Plan as that. Fort Portal is now a tourism or tourist city. In simple terms, a city is a place where people live that is larger or more important than a town or an area where many people live and work. Many people in Fort Portal engage in tourism related (tourism supported or supporting tourism) work.

      The true definition of Fort Portal as a city entirely lies in “Tourism” thus the Tourism City title. By nature, location, environment and people, Fort Portal is unrivaled as being the heart of most of Uganda’s tourism sites and activities. Fort Portal is in other words the Tourism Capital of Uganda due to its natural instatement.

      Fort Portal is strategically located in the heart of major tourism sites including the snowcapped mountains of the moon, commonly known as Rwenzori Mountains, Semuliki national park, Uganda’s largest Queen Elizabeth National Park, is home to gorillas and chimpanzees and a host of other primates, is a Centre of over 60 incredible crater lakes, the Mwenge and Kibaale natural forests, hills and rocks featuring over 400 species of birds, other animals and 1000s of flora species.

      Fort Portal beholds of the most complete and all-inclusive climate with balanced weather throughout the year favoring stable farming and human settlement all year round.

      Serenity and hospitability are the phenomena that make up tourism; all these are completely by nature found in Fort Portal on top of the Batooro people who are naturally hospitable, beautiful and the most peaceful ethnic group in Uganda creating a whole exciting welcoming tourism environment capped by the endless and numerous tourist activities and sites.

      Fort Portal due to its tourism city phenomenon will over the years be a unique metropolitan area with a blossoming hotel and hospitality industry holding hundreds of thousands of tourists at any single time from across the world boosting lots of other local businesses including majorly the transport and agriculture/food sectors;

      Fort Portal is expected to be a fully-fledged tourism city by 2040 according to the government’s national development plan will be easily attained with increased government financing and focus on infrastructure development and providing incentives to intending tourism investors both local and international.

      Fort Portal stands out to be unrivaled as the tourism destination in Uganda which provides huge potential for employment of the young workforce hence increasing the per capita income of the local households.

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      Our Operation Area- Kitara Region: Kitara area lies across the Equator right in the heart of East Africa. The history of Kitara dates as far back as 1889 when Uganda was still a British protectorate and this region was nicknamed ‘the Switzerland of Africa’ because of the hilly nature and its unique vegetation and weather.

      Kitara lies entirely between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. To the far west it borders Zaire (former Belgian Congo). This border concedes with the western Rift Valley occupied from north to south by Lakes Albert, Edward, George and Kivu. On this border with Zaire exist also, the Rwenzori mountain ranges, the highest point of which (Mt Margarita) is 5,119 meters high. Further south west between Lake Edward and lake Kivu, there is the volcanic Muhabura range protruding from the rift Valley between 3,500 meters and 4,000 meters high.

      On the other side Kitara borders Tanzania (former German East Africa). Boundary adjustments in 1910 between the British, the Belgians and the Germans fixed the southern limit of Uganda by including in Uganda, Kigezi which was formerly part of Belgian Congo and Bufumbira, formerly part of Germany East Africa. Kigezi was formerly part of Rwanda which together with Burundi and Tanganyika, formed German East Africa.

      Generally, Kitara is a land of plateaus though in some areas there are hills which are 200 to 500 meters high. In most places, the hills are heavily eroded. In the extreme west, the ancient tabular areas still remain.

      The Equator crosses Kitara region and the climate is equatorial but moderated by the altitude. In the region two dry seasons occur in the year. The highest temperatures occur on the Lake Albert flats while the lowest temperatures occur on the glaciated zone of Mt Rwenzori.

      In the higher regions, the vegetation groups itself in levels such that the thick vegetation forest with under growth of liana appears at the bottom on the lower slopes.  Mountain forest extends to about 3,200 meters and above this; there are bamboo groves and air pine prairie.

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      Kitara Foundation Annual Events

      1. Kitara Foundation Tourism Talent Show: Will feature young entrepreneurs running small tourism enterprises in the region.’ The show targets both the educated or skilled and the unskilled, with the goal of equipping them with the requisite tourism business skills to successfully run their businesses.

      It is a campaign to search for entrepreneurship talent in tourism among youths in the Kitara Region. This campaign is designed to identify and promote fresh tourism talents in the region.

      This show will give a platform to young tourism entrepreneurs in the region by recognizing and rewarding the participants that excel in the competition.

      This initiative seeks to support the youth with tourism business-related-skills to enable them efficiently operate tourism businesses in this tourism region.

      The show’s main goal is to inspire and stimulate the tourism entrepreneurship acumen among the youth as one of the ways to alleviate the high youth unemployment rate prevalent in the region and increase tourism potentials of the region.

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      2. Kitara Tourism Development Appreciation Day: A day to recognize, appreciate and cement our partnerships in the Tourism Development Industry (both in the business and service arena). We do not often get time to reach to our partners, service providers, clients and suppliers to tell them how important they are to us in our businesses. Even writing a letter is as difficult as calling on phone or sending a text. On this day, we meet one another to tell each other how important and valuable we are to one another, and to pledge our commitment to supporting each other on our next journey.

      This annual event will attract stakeholders and partners in tourism development at National, regional and local levels both in business and service fields.

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      3. Kitara Annual Cultural Festival: Several cultural fairs and festivals have been run on National, Regional and local levels, but none has been meant to recognize and appreciate the unique historical features of Kitara Region as a cultural section on the globe. The Kitara Cultural Festival will be running each year under the theme “Appreciating who we are; celebrating Cultural Diversity”; The festival is an opportunity to showcase the different cultures that make the Kitara region so diverse and unique on this continent and in Uganda in particular.

      “The fair will establish a platform where the different groups of Banyakitara can celebrate, appreciate and explore a diversity of cultures alongside their own.”

      The event is inspired by key roles culture plays in the development of nations that it cannot be ignored. “Culture is a strong part of people’s lives. It influences our values, hopes and world view.”

      At the Kitara Cultural Festival, the young generation will be given special focus through the school cultural quiz competitions. Schools both Primary and Secondary are invited to offer an opportunity to the young generation to learn about different cultures and be inspired.

      The events come a few years after the Ministry of Tourism signed a memorandum of understanding with the Province of Hainan from China. They (Province of Hainan) want to bring tourists to Uganda and to many of them culture is the key attraction.”

      We recognize the relevance of art and culture in social and economic development as well as individual human development. We envision a vibrant art and culture sector that is professional, creative and viable and contributes to social and economic development in Kitara region. Fair Missions is therefore dedicated to contribute to making Kitara region a significant hub for art and culture in Uganda and led by its values of respect, shared leadership, transparency, accountability, learning, and collaboration.

      Kitara has different cultures than the rest of the regions of Uganda.  In the rest of the country we read information, we read stories, books, in Uganda there are books, there is written information but there is something else in Kitara, we sit under the ancient tree and around the ancient fire place as the story-teller uses words to weave a tapestry in one’s mind with his or her words, we have art and cultural dance and music.

      Children love to hear the adults speak and sing, they relate to them, relate to the characters in their tales, and love the gentle rhythm of the songs and the words that allow children to see the possibilities in life.

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