Uganda Tourism Board unveils world record holder, Joshua Cheptegei as one of the country’s distinguished tourism ambassadors.
According to Lilly Ajarova, the UTB CEO’s announcement indicate that Cheptegei achieved their primary goal of restoring tourism in the country after being seriously hit by the Coronavirus pandemic that spread worldwide.
“Our annual visitor arrivals had been projected to grow to 1.6 million in 2020 but this was greatly affected by the pandemic,” UTB CEO, Lilly Ajarova revealed during the function to unveil the 25-year old long distance runner held in Kampala at the Uganda Golf Club.
Lilly added that between 2015 and 2019, the number of tourists coming to Uganda increased by 19% from 1.27 million to 1.5 million and that on average, it grew by 4% yearly.
“The forex earnings from the visitors to Uganda grew by 22% from $1.31 billion to $1.6 billion in the same period.”
By the many restrictions on travels and fear of contracting the virus, the figures however, gradually reduced affecting the tourism sector in Uganda.
Ajarova said, “World over, there are mixed signals about the tourism industry’s recovery in this year. In Uganda we expect regional and intra-African visitors to pick up in the second half of 2021.”
In his speech at the function, the long-distance runner Joshua Chepetegei said he is overwhelmed to have entered a deal that will see him contribute directly to the Uganda’s foreign revenues through promotion of the tourism sector.
“I’m delighted to be here to express solidarity with stakeholders in the tourism sector. I am grateful for having chosen me for this huge responsibility. I accept it with all humility and honor.”
Cheptegei added, “Much as Uganda is well endowed, it is not enough, if the world does not know about it. It is our responsibility as Ugandans to shout on top of the mountains and down in the valleys to everybody across the world.”
Joshua appreciated the deal he has entered with UTB describing it as another huge responsibility making him extra-courageous to continue winning and carrying Uganda’s flag high as well as promoting tourism.
UTB and Cheptegei have collaborated for support towards the latter’s athletics activities at both domestic and international levels and otherwise use his support and platforms to portray the country as a worthy tourist ground.
The long-distance runner will consequently use his image in videos, photos and other promotional materials as deemed fit by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).
Joshua Cheptegei’s outstanding achievements.
The 25- year- old Ugandan long-distance runner, last year in Valencia, broke the long-standing 10,000 metre world record.
Making 26:11.0 at the Turia stadium in Valencia in Spain, Joshua ensured he slashed the decade long record held by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele by six seconds to set a new record.
Therefore this was Cheptegei’s fourth feat achieved by the 24- year- old Ugandan long-distance runner after breaking the 10km road record in December 2019, the 5km record in February 2019 and the 5000m record on August,14, 2020 in Monaco.