One of the famous quotes of John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a very successful United States merchant, religious leader and political figure, considered by many as the pioneer in marketing and public relations is “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”
In a bid to attract tourism, many African countries have taken many advertisement approaches and adopted different textbook concepts on how best to get the much needed publicity especially in boosting tourism. There is no denying that if well utilized and managed, many African countries can survive economically on their tourism industries alone. Sadly, this is not the case as many tourists overlook our breathtaking attractions for the artificial resorts in Dubai and other parts of the world, and you won't blame them!
There are a lot of Africans who have toured all the major tourist resorts in the world but have not visited the ones in their very backyards. This is because African countries spend on the wrong approaches.
In trying to change the narratives, many countries have spent on so much on publicity but the results tell a sorry tale. In October 2007, Nigeria started construction of the Tinapa Business and Leisure resort in Calabar, Cross River State; a project which cost the country well over $450 Million.
According to the government, the project would make Nigeria the tourism headquarters of the world as it would contain everything needed to attract tourists. More than 10 years later, nothing has changed and a recent report by the Tourism Industry in Nigeria reveals that the country loses an average of $4 Billion yearly to foreign tourism.
Recently, Rwanda signed a deal with London Football club, Arsenal FC to advertise the country on the sleeve of the club's official jersey; the deal cost GBP 30 Million (about $39.5 Million) of tax payers money. The news was greeted with so much criticism with critics saying that a country with over 60% of its citizen living in extreme poverty and depending on less than $1.25 a day should not be wasting public funds on such a deal.
Today, the statistics prove them right because the country is yet to record any significant increase in its tourism. In fact, the media didn't find the deal news worthy and popular platforms ignored it entirely.
Taking all of this into consideration, Uganda and Yoweri Museven deserve some accolades. The visit of Kanye West, his wife Kim Kardashian and their son, Saint, to Uganda sent the media world on its tail. Both local and international media was thrown into a frenzy as the news trended on every platform.
Uganda got in one day from the visit of the American power couple, what Paul Kagame's Rwanda will not get in one year with its GBP 30 Million Arsenal deal.
Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, met with the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, during their trip to the country in East Africa.
Museveni detailed the meeting with the power couple in a tweet today, revealing that the 41-year-old rapper gifted him white sneakers amid talks of improving tourism.
The president also shared photos from the meeting where he’s greeting the couple, posing with the sneakers and having discussions in an ornately decorated room.
“I welcome American entertainment stars Kanye West and @KimKardashian to Uganda,” Museveni wrote on Twitter. “I held fruitful discussions with the duo on how to promote Uganda's tourism and the arts. I thank Kanye for the gift of white sneakers. Enjoy your time in Uganda. It is the true Pearl of Africa.”
Their visit was publicized by every leading platform in the world including BBC, HuffPost, TMZ, GailyMail, The African Exponent, Global News, CNN, Access, etc. This is not a surprise considering the popularity of the couple; Kim Kardashian alone has a followership of over 224 million across her social media platforms and it is commendable how Uganda used the leverage for free!
I think Paul Kagame and other African leaders should seek advice from Yoweri Museveni and Uganda. Who knows, they may get an autographed sneaker from a celebrity also!
Photo Credit: Evening Standard