Opinion: People in tourism

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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