BY ANDREW COHEN AMVESI
ARUA. There is excitement in Arua town as Makerere University Business School (MUBS) brings the first-ever coursework outreach event to Arua City.
The 13th Annual MUBS Hospitality Day will be held at Arua Public Primary School ground on Friday under the theme: “Enriching lives through hospitality.”
While addressing journalists on Thursday, Kenneth Olupot, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the event said the hospitality day is a community-engaged examination for students doing Bachelor’s Degree in Leisure and Hospitality Management (BLHM) where they put theory into practice.
The annual MUBS Hospitality Day is an event which has run for the last 12 years and this is the 13th edition.
It is done in the last semester by BLHM students who are in their final year, where they put all the practical things at hand together.
“The outreach is mainly to take to different cities and show them more about this event so that they can benchmark and develop more opportunities from it,” Olupot said.
According to Olupot, the other focus of the event is to bring the tourism and hospitality industry together, aware that tourism is the leading sector in form of foreign exchange earnings in Uganda.
“That is why we are bringing different activities like sports, kickboxing, cycling, fashion and design. We shall showcase different fashion designs. In Africa we have our own fashions like the Kitenge and the Kikoyi, so we want to show people the beauty of Africa and that is why we shall showcase fashion and design,” Olupot said.
Similarly, Lillian Kaakyo, the event Public Relations Officer (PRO) said they intend to share knowledge and skills with the people of Arua, especially on how to earn a living through sports tourism, events management and fashion and design.
“We believe there is hospitality in almost every aspect of life in our homes, schools, hospitals, in the shops and everyone loves to have fun, everyone loves to relax, then how do you harness that to earn a living? So, we have come here to Arua to impart and share knowledge and skills on how one can use leisure and hospitality or the tourism industry to earn a living,” Kaakyo explained.
Priscilla Lamwaka, a lecturer at MUBS said the students are in Arua to share the piece of the cake they have been making in Kampala.
“These are students of Leisure and Hospitality that take on this event as an exam. So, this is their coursework-one that we exhibit based on their practical skills. We teach them for three years and when they reach their third year, they now have to show us how best they can put the skills that they have learnt in class into practice by organizing such a big event,” Lamwaka said.
“We want different people in Arua, especially the young generation in Arua Public PS to pick a leave to see that yes, there is life after primary and then which is the life picking on events such as fashion, sports, awards and incentives among others. So, our students are going to exhibit the different skills that they have in action,” Lamwaka added.
Meanwhile Dr. Abbey Mutumba, the Senior Lecturer who doubles as the founder of the annual MUBS Hospitality Day said they chose Arua city this time for strategic reasons.
“Arua has got tourism and hospitality opportunities that outside West Nile people don’t know about. When you go on google, you find Arua in the whole of Uganda is the only place where you have Pyramids that have never been talked about, it is in Arua that the second International Airport was being constructed by our Late President, Idi Amin Dada, so the Airport itself is a tourism attraction,” Mutumba stressed.
He said Arua City has got hotels that are coming up and are matching the standards in Fort Portal, in Jinja, in Mbarara, in Kampala and in Entebbe.
“Arua is a cosmopolitan area. In Arua, you are talking about three countries; while this is in Uganda, in Arua here, we have people who are coming from South Sudan, we have people who are coming from DR Congo, we even have people who are coming from Ethiopia and Somalia. So, when we are here, we are in an international market and as MUBS, we need to be part of it,” Mutumba remarked.
“Government chose MUBS to lead business education and training in Uganda. Yes, we have a campus in Arua but the campus is yet to offer tourism and hospitality, so before we introduce such a program, we first need to have a feel of, let these young people of Arua Public PS learn about this, let the business community learn about this. We have a portfolio called entertainment franchiser which is about replicating successful brands and bringing them to Arua or from Arua to other parts of the country,” Mutumba said.