By Jeff Andrew Lule
Artisans countrywide will have an opportunity to showcase their different products, at this year’s first handcrafts exposition, which is aimed at promoting tourism, art, and culture.
The Handcraft Expo 2022 is scheduled for November 24 to 26 at the Uganda Museum in Kamwokya, Kampala, under the theme: Rethinking Tourism Through Culture And Creative Hands.
The event is spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, with support from the Enhanced Integrated Framework.
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja is expected to grace the event.
The event, the first of its kind in the country, presents an opportunity for people involved in the handcraft and souvenir subsector to meet new clients, network, and discuss business opportunities with potential local and regional purchasers and other stakeholders, including service providers along the sector’s value chain.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on November 17, the State Minister for Tourism, Martin Bahinduka, said it is the first time a handcrafts and souvenirs expo is organised at the national level.
He stressed that this is important for tourism and the host communities in Uganda “because every time tourists (local and international) visit them, they buy handcrafts and souvenirs to remind them of the places they have visited”.
“In the process, as they buy such products, they provide some income to the producers and sellers of those products,” Bahinduka noted.
The minister said the majority of those participating in the handcraft and souvenir industry are young men and women, adding that the expo gives them an opportunity to showcase their products and skills to the public and policy makers to identify the necessary support required to develop and market their products.
He added that the ultimate focus of this year’s expo is to help create and increase value addition, improve the quality of handcraft and souvenir products and increase their demand in both the domestic and international markets.
They also look forward to a growing Uganda handicraft and souvenir industry because it provides the country greater opportunities to exploit its abundant mineral resources, such as clay, which is used to make ceramics.
During the expo, Bahinduka said the public will also attest to the authenticity of a variety of products made in Uganda, including mats, bags, textiles, cow horn products, leather products, music instruments, baskets, and bark cloth products, among others produced by Ugandan artisans.
Alongside the expo, there will be a symposium on various topics such as; the contribution of culture to Uganda’s economy, branding, publicity and marketing, and value addition in the handcrafts and souvenir sector.
The Government intends to use the event to promote investor inflows, reveal the numerous tourism potentials, and present investment opportunities under the tourism sector.
The minister said the symposium will provide participants with information and skills required in the management of their businesses.