HOW KARUNGI HAS REVAMPED TOURISM IN BUNYORO
By Our Reporter
MASINDI: Ms. Karungi Riita Abwooli was appointed as the Tourism Officer of Masindi District in 2018. She is the first person to hold such office in the district.
Upon attaining the office, she never looked back; Karungi had to put in more efforts to show the relevance of the office by creating much awareness of the tourism potentials of Masindi through her initiative of loving and appreciating our own, a campaign that she launched on October 3, 2020.
This saw many people across Uganda visiting key tourist sites like Budongo Forest Royal Mile, Kabalega Murchison Falls National Park, Kyamuleju, and others.
With her unique mobilization skills, Karungi would mobilize buses and coasters to visit the sites within the district; this created much awareness and opened people’s eyes to understand the tourism potentials of the district.
Karungi has shown excellent innovations, enthusiasm, and charisma, and her performance has been excellent over the years, which has earned her quite a number of awards and national nominations in her field of specialization.
She is very hardworking, self-driven, time conscious, and a quick learner, and she completes all tasks on time and with ease. There has been an awakening of the entire tourism sector of Masindi and the Bunyoro subregion at large through her endless innovations.
Karungi has received numerous awards, like an appreciation from the American Embassy, a Masindi District local government award as the best in innovations in 2021, and the best tourism personality of the year 2021 by Kitara Generation Awards.
There has been a great impact created by Karungi through her efforts; we have seen many of the tourism sites in Bunyoro being publicized on bigger platforms, for example, newspapers and national television.
In 2021, Karungi was appointed the Cluster Head by Miss Tourism Bunyoro by Miss Tourism Uganda.
With this assignment, she has continued to show excellence in promoting the tourism of the entire Bunyoro Subregion and inspiring the girl child of Bunyoro through tourism education and promotion.
Too much awareness has been created for the tourism sites of the entire Bunyoro region, like Kibiro hot springs, Mparo royal tombs, Semwema cultural sites, Bugoma forest, Kaiso Tonya, Lake Mwitanzige, and so many others, during this program. Karungi has also helped to reveal the great tourism potential of the entire subregion.
The girl child in Bunyoro has been greatly empowered and inspired as we see some of them have attained international travel. For example, in the recently concluded competitions, Jacent Nangooba from Kakumiro won an international award and will travel to the USA for one month to promote the tourism of Bunyoro and Uganda at large.
Her accomplishments and awards throughout the years
In 2018, when Karungi joined Masindi District Local Government, she promoted the tourism industry from scratch. As the first tourism officer, she launched an initiative named “loving and appreciating our own.” She identified all the tourism sites within the district and educated masses on radio and social media platforms.
Karungi later mobilized masses and organized local trips to the above sites; over 15 prominent sites were visited, and this created massive awareness of the district’s potential and awakened the entire tourism industry.
She has revitalized the region’s tourism sector through her collaboration with Miss Tourism Uganda. This has empowered a girl child through tourism promotion and education.
Karungi has managed to author and establish the first ever tourism magazine in Masindi district, which is a tool to promote tourism. The first edition covers all the activities the office has been undertaking for the past three years, highlights some of the investment opportunities within the district, and highlights key tourism and hospitality facilities within the district.
She has also managed to establish a tourist information center that contains all the information in the entire district that will be of great value to all people visiting a specific area. Travelers learn about available tourist products and services in the region. Tourists also find information about banks, tourism sites, hospitality facilities, some important contact persons in the area, security, and so many others.
As the Masindi district tourism officer, Karungi has managed to support the district by documenting the tourism profile of the entire district, establishing the Masindi District tourism coordination committee, and creating the Masindi District Tourism 5-Year Master Plan. She has gone ahead to develop concept papers for tourism development and also spearhead the ongoing merger project that will see Kafu developed into a tourism stopover center and generate lots of revenue for the district, as well as lots of employment opportunities for all Ugandans.
Karungi has built a good reputation for the district; a special story for the loving and appreciating our own tourism campaign,” which was aired on National Television (NBSTV) (Masindi, the gateway point of tourism in Bunyoro); another story for the initiative was published in the new vision paper; and the American Embassy also ran an appreciation of the initiative, which saw most local people visiting their own sites.
The young tourist officer has also done aggressive marketing for the district and established social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp forums with massive followings aimed at sensitizing the masses, creating awareness, and promoting the tourism potentials in the district and the entire region.
Karungi has mobilized and organized a number of tourism communities within the district into cooperative societies and associations, and she has gone ahead to create a market for their products by organizing quarterly exhibitions and linking tourists to them, which has enhanced the local people’s incomes.
Some of the groups she has transformed are the Boomu Women group, which has even recently received a project worth 200 million dollars from the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities; the Masindi Art and Craft Cooperative Society; the Ongo Communal Land Tourism Association; and others.
Through her community outreaches, Karungi has supported the groups to engage in community tourism in order to benefit from their being strategically located. These communities are neighboring the world’s most powerful waterfalls and the world’s biggest and most famous national park (Murchison Falls National Park).
Awards and Recognition
On March 15, 2021, Karungi was recognized and appreciated as the Woman of the Month by the American Embassy for building the office from scratch and promoting education, mobilizing, and supporting the local community to visit their tourism sites.
On April 4, 2020, she was crowned Miss Domestic Tourism by the Bunyoro people because of their love and appreciation for their own initiative, which saw many people from the region visit their country.
On November 1, 2021, Karungi was nominated for the Janzi domestic tourism project under the National and Cultural Heritage category.
In the same year, on December 21, she was recognized by Masindi District Local Government as the best employee for the TILE Department and best in Innovations.
On February 7, 2022, Karungi won the Kitara Generation Awards for best tourism and hospitality personality of the year 2021.
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Job well-done madam karungi and Keep up
I will always embrace your efforts madam
Thanks a lot for make it up to this far may the Almighty be there for us always!