By Mathias Mugisha
Do you dream of officially being called Abwooli or Amooti? Do you have Empaako (Petty name)? Do you want to be part of the family of the friendliest tribe in Uganda? My bet is that if you go to Fort Portal between 26 and 29 October 2017, you will come back with a brand new name and born again as a Mutooro.
On 26 October, all roads will lead to Fort Portal for the maiden Annual Tourism and Cultural Festival gala dubbed FortFest 2017. The Fest will run for three days. According to NYK LOGISTICS LTD, the organizers, the fest will be a “National Vision 2040 earmarked Fort Portal as the Tourism City in Uganda. We did not want to wait until 2040 for that to happen. Every year we are going to promote tourism and culture,” Paul Nyakana Businge the Director NYK logistics explained. NYK Logistics has patterned with Uganda Tourism Board and Fort Portal Municipal Council in this year’s gala with a the theme “Cerebrating Nature, Beauty and Culture.”
Located in Western Uganda, Fort Portal town is the seat of Kabarole District and Tooro Kingdom. It is earmarked as the Tourism City of Uganda by National Vision 2040, largely because it lies at the foot of Rwenzori Mountains National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage.
Fort Portal, with its unique climatic condition, has also consistently emerged as the cleanest town in Uganda and a gateway to various National Parks. These parks include Kibale – famous for birds and chimpanzees. Semliki, which is the best place for watching forest birds and Uganda’s flagship Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is also easy to reach Bwindi Impenetrable National Park from Fort Portal, Bwindi house half of the world’s Mountain Gorillas.
Another popular attraction is the stalagmites (Amabeere ga Nyina Mwiru) and Nakasura water falls linked to the Chwezi culture. The town is surrounded by 57 crater lakes, beautiful tea plantations, the Rwenzori mountain ranges and healing (hot springs) water resources. Among the many accolades of Fort Portal are a very cool climate, very hospitable people and the youngest King in the world.
The fest will see Uganda Tourism Board working with the Fort Portal Municipal Council for three days to promote the area as Uganda’s Tourism Capita, through the traditional media and social media. According to Businge, over 100,000 people are expected to sample the activities.
Both local and international investors, tour operators, tourists and service providers will be showcasing their products and services. The gala will also give stake holders an opportunity to network, brainstorm and revise means and strategic ways to work together and develop the tourism industry in general and Fort portal city in particular.
The event will enable organizers and participants to interact, educate, sensitize, train, recognize and reward companies that promote Fort Portal and the region as a whole. The event will present an opportunity for Ugandan locals to further deepen their influence among the tourist public and Fort portal as a city.
The activities will include; Cultural Parade, FortFest Tourism conference, exhibitions, Tour Trips, Cultural Gala, and a Golf Tournament. For the masses, there will also be a Street Carnival along Mugurusi Road. Awards will be presented to the best exhibitors and performers. The lucky ones will also get Empaako in a naming ceremony at the Mountains of the Moon Hotel celebration of Nature, Beauty and Culture. Don’t forget that there will also be a street concert by Uganda’s top musicians, tentatively led by Bobi Wine as guest artist.