Uganda is putting increased focus on the development of its coffee tourism offerings, as evidenced by the first Coffee & Tourism Symposium and Exposition, which took place in Kampala in December. As one of the country's top exports, coffee is already big business, and plentiful opportunities exist to introduce visitors to the Ugandan coffee experience.
Held under the theme "Unlocking Uganda's Coffee Tourism Potential," the conference and exhibition brought together key stakeholders in the coffee and tourism sectors to discuss how the gains and potential in both sectors can be enhanced.
Coffee tourism involves linking coffee farmers to consumers under a farm-to-cup approach, with consumers touring farms and sharing their experience with the farmers. "Bringing consumers to the farms and ensuring they have all the amenities they need in terms of transport, accommodations and on-farm experiences will encourage incremental earnings as farmers and those in the hospitality and tourism industries gain prominence due to global exposure," said Stephen Asiimwe, CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board.
Within the past year, local Ugandan tour company Let's Go Travel introduced a 10-day coffee safari that combines wildlife and cultural activities with visits to coffee plantations near urban Kampala and rural Sipi Falls for an immersive education on Uganda's robusta and arabica coffee, from crop to cup.
The symposium aimed to inspire more coffee farmers to offer these types of experiences that can be marketed to visitors seeking to explore Uganda beyond its wildlife.