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Hospitality Sector Excited for AFCON 2027, Expects Economic Boost

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Uganda Hoteliers Look Forward to Hosting AFCON 2027

The Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) welcomed the recent announcement that Uganda, alongside Kenya and Tanzania, will co-host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. This decision by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has generated excitement among hoteliers, who see it as a valuable opportunity for the hospitality, tourism, and entertainment sectors.

Ms. Jean Byamugisha, the executive director of UHOA, expressed her enthusiasm, calling it “excellent news for our tourism and accommodation business.” She sees the tournament as a chance for Uganda to showcase itself as East Africa’s nightlife capital. As preparations for hosting soccer fans unfold, UHOA plans to collaborate with the police to identify special screening event locations and train hotel staff in security procedures.

Concerns arose about whether Uganda has enough hotel rooms to accommodate the expected influx of guests, which could number in the thousands. Ms. Byamugisha assured that the Kampala metropolitan area, encompassing the capital and the Wakiso and Mukono districts, boasts approximately 70,000 hotel rooms. Additionally, they learned from the Nyege Nyege music festival that some foreign guests prefer tents over hotels, allowing for flexible accommodations.

To enhance the overall guest experience, UHOA aims to intensify training for various hospitality and tourism professionals, including chauffeurs, hotel staff, security personnel, tour guides, craft vendors, and business executives. This training will focus on soft skills such as interpersonal communication, cultural awareness, conflict resolution, and handling guest concerns effectively.

Mr. George Ogumbo, the secretary-general of the Hotel Managers’ Association of Uganda, emphasized that their experienced staff and ongoing training ensure guests receive enjoyable and professional service. The government initiated skills development programs for hotel employees in 2019, creating a network for sharing global industry trends and best practices among hoteliers.

Leisure and hospitality training consultant, Mr. Paul Aloni Kireta, noted that Uganda’s experience hosting high-profile events has strengthened its institutional and infrastructural capacity. He highlighted the improved availability of hotel rooms compared to the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Kireta stressed the importance of refresher training to ensure the professionalism of hoteliers and tourism sector workers.

In addition to hotels, the proliferation of furnished apartments in upscale areas of Kampala and private residences listed on Airbnb will provide guests visiting Uganda for AFCON 2027 with a range of affordable accommodation options.