Mission and Objectives
The Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) was established in July 1998 to empower local communities in sustainable development through small-scale tourism and handcraft enterprises, also known as community tourism. Community tourism aims to involve local people in the planning, decision-making and implementation of tourism development activities. This form of tourism assures that the benefits stay as much as possible in the local community.
To date UCOTA has grown into 42 active member-groups countrywide, representing about 2,121 individuals of whom 64% are women.
The groups operate small enterprises ranging from accommodation, guiding services, and restaurants to craft shops and music, dance and drama performances. Most of the groups fund a community projects, such as clinics, schools, water sources and literacy programs.
To spearhead sustainable, community-based tourism through capacity building, marketing, networking, advocacy and enterprise development in collaboration with stakeholders aiming at increasing community benefits, promoting quality standards, ownership and conservation of natural and cultural resources for better livelihoods.
- To promote community based tourism through small-scale enterprise development to enhance revenue generation for its members and better livelihoods for the communities.
- To bring members together with the purpose of promoting the development of community based tourism.
UCOTA's Core Activities
UCOTA offers services to its members that enable them to grow in their tourism and handicraft businesses. Services include:
- Capacity building
- UCOTA members are trained in various aspects of tourism development such as business skills, guiding, bird watching, hospitality, handcrafts, group dynamics, site management, conservation of natural and cultural resources.
- UCOTA members’ tourism products and services become part of international marketing efforts through the Pearls of Uganda program
- UCOTA creates a platform for members’ voices to be heard at all levels.
- UCOTA’s network brings members, partners and stakeholders together for dialogue and allows members to join forces, giving all interested parties an opportunity to interact.
- UCOTA emphasises conservation of natural and cultural resources communities utilise as tourism resources (attractions). Conservation is aimed at attaining sustainability of the projects and minimising negative environmental impact.
- Resource mobilisation
- UCOTA engages in fundraising activities for both members and the organisation.