IUEA at POATE 2024: IUEA student wins free trip to Zanzibar

The International University of East Africa showcases its internationally accredited Tourism programme at POATE 2024.
Bridget, an IUEA Tourism and Hotel Management student, stands with the 'Let the Pearl Shine' Ambassador and the First Runner-up for Miss Tourism Eastern at POATE 2024.

The International University of East Africa (IUEA) proudly demonstrated its exceptional tourism education at the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2024. From May 23rd to 25th, the prestigious Speke Resort and Convention Center in Munyonyo buzzed with excitement as IUEA showcased its internationally accredited programme and steadfast commitment to responsible tourism. This blog will take you through the highlights of this grand event, culminating in the exciting moment when an IUEA student won a free trip to Zanzibar.

An IUEA Tourism lecturer explains the merits of our accredited Tourism and Hotel Management programme while a marketing team member registers interested attendees.

What is POATE?

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) is a premier annual tourism and travel trade show organised by the Uganda Tourism Board. It brings together key players in Uganda’s tourism industry through Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) interactions, facilitating networking and business opportunities. This year, the event welcomed 70 hosted buyers and over 5,000 trade visitors, all united under the theme “Responsible Tourism.” This theme resonated deeply with IUEA’s values, particularly as the event implemented eco-friendly practices, such as banning single-use plastics.

The Buganda Heritage and Tourism Board’s stall at POATE 2024, beautifully crafted from bamboo, features a striking centerpiece of the the Kabaka, the king of the Buganda Kingdom.

What did IUEA present at POATE 2024?

At POATE 2024, IUEA distinguished itself as one of the only academic institutions present, underscoring our leadership in tourism education. Our strategically positioned stall provided an immersive experience of our Tourism and Hotel Management programme. Visitors participated in a simulated ticketing process and explored various facets of culture and hospitality management, guided by our passionate students and dedicated lecturers.

The exhibition hall at the expo, expertly carpeted with Astro-Turf and organised with alphanumeric designations for easy navigation.

Who attended the event?

POATE 2024 brought together a diverse array of stakeholders from the tourism industry, including hotels, tour companies, suppliers, financial institutions, and government bodies. This impressive gathering showcased the vast opportunities within the tourism sector. Notable participants included:

  • Serena Hotels: Showcased their premier camping facilities, highlighting luxury and comfort in nature.
  • Uganda Wildlife Authority: Emphasised the critical importance of wildlife preservation and conservation efforts.
  • French Embassy: Promoted international collaboration and partnerships in the tourism sector.
  • Uganda Airlines: Encouraged international travel and connectivity, boosting Uganda’s accessibility.
  • Uganda Tourism Board: Organised the event, serving as the primary government entity leading tourism development in Uganda.
Banners of this year’s sponsors and exhibitors line the street at Speke Resort Munyonyo, creating a vibrant entrance to the expo.

The event was further elevated by the presence of Miss Tourism Uganda. Each day, a different queen from the Miss Tourism Uganda pageant visited the stalls and attended the conferences. IUEA had the distinct honour of interviewing several of these queens, who expressed their appreciation for accredited institutions like IUEA offering tourism and hospitality education. They also underscored the immense untapped potential of Uganda’s tourism industry. Their royal presence added an element of elegance and prestige to the expo.

Miss Tourism 2023/2024 and the 2nd Runner-up proudly hold up their IUEA gift bags, celebrating our chartered university’s tourism and hospitality management programme.

What happened at this year’s tourism expo?

The creatively designed exhibition hall, adorned with an AstroTurf carpet and bamboo stalls, created a natural and inviting atmosphere. Exhibitors and performers in traditional attire added cultural richness to the event. Continuous exhibition sessions over the three days facilitated extensive networking and business interactions, while dynamic traditional performances kept the energy high.

Traditionally dressed performers dance through the exhibition hall, adding excitement and cultural flair to the expo.

Our presence at the event was not just about showcasing our programmes; it was about providing our students with invaluable networking opportunities. Engaging with industry professionals and potential partners, our students gained insights and connections that will benefit their future careers.

One of the standout moments for IUEA was when Baku Limbaya Georges, a Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) student, won a free trip to Zanzibar through a fun and engaging competition. Attending the expo to support his fellow students, Baku’s enthusiastic participation paid off when he was randomly selected from a large pool of attendees. This exciting win exemplifies the myriad opportunities IUEA students have to shine and succeed at prestigious events. The joy and enthusiasm displayed by our students underscore our commitment to providing enriching experiences and fostering their professional growth.

IUEA students and a staff member, Filmon Asmerom celebrate as one of our own wins a free trip to Zanzibar at POATE 2024.

Why IUEA Attended POATE 2024

IUEA’s participation in this year’s expo highlights our commitment to providing exceptional practical learning experiences and career opportunities for our students. Attending prestigious events like this allows us to showcase the effectiveness of our programmes and establish valuable partnerships that benefit both current and future students. Our success at expos, such as the recent UNABSEC event where students received job offers, underscores our dedication to excellence and student success.

As one of the only academic institutions at POATE 2024, IUEA proudly represented Uganda’s education sector, demonstrating our premier tourism and hotel management education services. Our presence attracted many passionate attendees who registered for our programme, furthering our mission to support the tourism industry.

This commitment is also reflected in initiatives like hosting the capital city premiere of King Oyo’s Rwenzori mountain expedition, showcasing the beauty of the Rwenzori Mountains. By engaging in events like POATE 2024, we reaffirms our role as a leader in tourism and hospitality education, ensuring our students are well-prepared to excel in this dynamic industry.

Mr. and Miss IUEA, along with members of the IUEA marketing team, commemorate a successful showcase of our Tourism and Hotel Management programme at POATE 2024.

The Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo 2024 was a tremendous success for IUEA. As the chartered university in attendance, we proudly represented the academic sector and demonstrated our leadership in tourism education. The event provided a perfect platform to connect with industry stakeholders, promote sustainable tourism, and create opportunities for our students. At IUEA, we are dedicated to nurturing future leaders in tourism and hospitality, ensuring they are well-equipped to drive the industry forward.


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