As we promote tourism in Uganda, what about the people behind its success?

A lot of emphasis has been placed on the exposure of Uganda as the number one tourist destination in Africa. The industry is increasingly bringing in millions and millions of dollars in revenue generation. We now have tourism ambassadors, many first class hotels have come on board, new tourist attractions are being exposed by the day not to forget Rolex that was recently discovered in Busoga.

I have written a number of articles on human resource management and customer service, but in this article, I will pay closer attention to the people behind the scene; the employees working directly in this sector.

In my cross-border journey of many years, I found out that as much as a lot of work goes into ensuring a seamless service delivery in our hotels, tourist sites, bar and restaurants, the personnel involved are not appreciated by their employers. Any chance with them reveals all their poor experiences such as- low pay and not on time, overtime and not compensated, poor meals, mistreatment, and the list is endless. Little wonder why some of these employees are reactive towards customers. A few five-star locations could be better than others but we have everyone on board.

Legally, is there anything that can be done by Government to address these alarming conditions? Are there policies we need to put in place to get a better treatment? We as Ugandans, is there anything we can do to improve the working conditions? Can employers provide a more tailored training to the service people?

On many of my trips, I see a lot of people paying off their bills with no tips left for the staff who served them. I am not suggesting you should tip anyone who has not given you the service you deserve, this should be solely based on customer satisfaction. And to the employees in the sector, you should not expect a tip if your service has not exceeded customer satisfaction.

As Government, citizens and employers, we should work towards putting smiles on the people that are directly employed in the tourism sector. I believe happy employees provide better service which will create more referrals to visit our tourists’ destinations. We need to create an inclusive development in the tourism sector, no one should be left out- government, staff, managers, CEOs, and the general populace.

The writer is:

Ayub Kato

Customer service and Call centre consultant.
akato@smilingfaces.co.ug
Smiling faces International.

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