Uganda is an ideal tourist destination. The Tourism Expenditure and Motivation Survey (TEMS) conducted by the Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities (MTWA) collected data on tourist expenditures, duration of stay, tourist activities, levels of satisfaction, and suggestions for improvements in the sector. The data shows that leisure and cultural tourists spend 30 % to 100 % more than other types of tourists per visit to Uganda. The TEMS survey estimates that roughly 500,000 foreign tourists spent at least one night in Uganda in 2012, and nearly 75,000 of these were leisure or cultural tourists. In 2013, more than one million non-residents visited Uganda. Tourists overall satisfaction with their trip to Uganda is high, owing to the strength of the leisure and enterntainment industry.
Often, fun is associated with Ugandans. A culture infused by the vibrancy of its people. Foreigners in Uganda on holiday can attest to the hospitalility of Ugandans. This explains the influx of tourists to East Africa from all over the world who travel to the Pearl of Africa to be a part of this beautiful energy. Consequently, Uganda is uniquely set to benefit from the entertainment and leisure industry. This stems across fashion and technology with a blossoming young population. Uganda has the world’s youngest population with over 78 per cent of its population below the age of 30 according to data from the Youth Policy Organisation and a report from the The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
According to the Daily Monitor, a report released from the National Population Council indicated that the majority of Ugandans live lavish styles. The economy promotes a consumer culture which is characterized by people overspending. The report highlights areas like hanging out at eateries, buying electronic gadgets, high consumption of alcohol and holding parties. Borrowing to finance excessive lifestyles is also part of the culture. The state of Uganda Population Report indicates that there are low levels of saving and capital accumulation in Uganda.
Uganda hosts different festivals that are attended by people from far and wide, who come to party and take a part in the irresistable vibrant Ugandan spirit. Among these festivals is the famous MTN Nyege Nyege annual festival that is held in Jinja at the River Nile. Year in year out, the festival grows bigger and has become a must-attend as a way to unwind from the year’s stress in the last quarter of the year. This event is arguably considered the most important 4- day international music festival in East Africa.
Nyege Nyege is known for its one of a kind curation and its unique afropolitan party theme. This event hosts tens of thousands every year and brings a lot of revenues to MTN, artistes and other organizers. Other festivals in Uganda have reaped big because they have mastered the art of creatively taking advantage of this high affinity for leisure and entertainment. Events like blankets and wine, Shorts na Lessu, Tugende mu Kikadde and Enkuuka among others that have have benefitted from large revenues.
Before Covid-19, the night clubs and beer industry in Uganda were booming. According to the Daily Monitor, Kampala-Uganda is the highest consumer of alcohol per capita in the East African region. Further a recently released report by AFKinsider, ranks Uganda as the 2nd in Africa for alcohol consumption. The Global Status on Alcohol and Health 2014 indicates that 23.7 litres of pure alcohol are consumed per capita by consumers annually in Uganda. Undoubtedly this is the reason for the success of a company like Nile Breweries Limited, which boosts 57.7% of the alcohol market share in Uganda.
Although the consumption of alcohol has its longterm effect on health, these consumption statistics demonstrate that it is a lucrative opportuntity for investment. For a brand looking to invest in the Ugandan market, they need to analyze the nature of consumption habits for Ugandans and find out what exactly drives their purchase decisions. What do they spend money on, and how they arrive at these decisions? This will help one make smart investment decisions so that they can get a good return on investment. There are undeniably opportunities in the tourism, entertainment and leisure industry, but for one to attain any level of success, they must study the dynamics of the Ugandan market closely and understand what is trending for the average Ugandan, since lifestyle may vary with seasons.
Much as most Ugandans are fun-loving people, the leisure industry is suseptible to perceptions and thus consumers can be as easily dissuaded just as they are persuaded. Leisure events are usually attended based on recommendation, the ‘bandwagon’ effect and sometimes on the basis of internet hype. It relies a lot on perceptions. One misinterpreted advert, a bad review from a social media influencer or negative publicity can cost one good business. So, any investors looking at such business opportunities need to assess the market consumption patterns. This might entail investing heavily in marketing on several online platforms, billboards, TV and radio advertisements. Endorsmenets by socialities or media influencers may help influence the patterns of consumption in the entertainment and leisure industry.
Written By: Grace Nakazibwe
LinkedIn: Grace Nakazibwe