There was glamour and glitz as Uganda unveiled a new campaign, the "Pearl of Africa Logo" competition, that aims to rebrand and take Uganda out to the world as a tourism destination.
The red carpet affair at Protea hotel had entertainment from a cultural troupe and singer Chosen, who has composed a new song praising Uganda's beauty. The competition, launched by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, is open to the general public and will see the winner walk away with a Shs 10m cash prize.
"There is no doubt that Uganda is unique; it is the pearl of Africa. The only problem is that we have not made it known to others," noted Mbabazi.
"There is no other place in the world that compares to Uganda. Our poverty notwithstanding, Ugandans are known to be the happiest and [friendliest] people."
Uganda is endowed with a variety of natural and cultural attractions; however, the country has had an uncoordinated and fragmented brand identity.
Some refer to it as "Africa's friendliest country" others, "Gifted by Nature" while others prefer the legendary "The Pearl of Africa" slogan, which is the most recognizable of all slogans.
But according to Vivian Lyazi, the principal tourism officer, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, whereas Uganda cannot lay exclusive claims to being "Gifted by Nature" or "Africa's friendliest country" because several countries around the world are friendly and gifted by nature, it can confidently be asserted, that Uganda is the only country for which the term "The Pearl of Africa" has been used.
This, and the fact that it is more embracing, evoking sentiments of mystery and discovery, makes " The Pearl of Africa" a more ideal brand concept for Uganda.
Against this background government has embarked on a process of identifying a suitable logo to represent the "Pearl of Africa". The competition will give an opportunity to artists of all ages to express their creativity and understanding of the brand.
The logo should represent Uganda's unique combination of natural and human endowments, Uganda's warmth and hospitality, Uganda's entrepreneurship and workforce versatility, Uganda's geo tourism destination potential, Uganda's investment opportunities and Uganda's commitment to sustainable development.
Details about the competition can be found at the ministry website (www.tourism.go.ug) or on the facebook page, (www.facebook.com/pearlofafricalogocompetition).
At the function, the country welcomed back Miss Tourism 2013, Barbra Harriet Nakitto, from Miss Tourism International competition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she did Uganda proud by emerging 14th out of the sixty (60), and also scooped the Miss Friendship International award.
Nakitto, in company of her father and former contestants, received her prize, a Toyota Vitz. The other Miss Tourism Uganda contestants were recognised as well, and awarded certificates at the function which had a steady flow of drinks and food.