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INCLUSION IN TOURISM: Youth & PWDs Inclusion in Tourism And Conservation Fostered By The Community Biodiversity Run of the Rwenzori Theluji Festival

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Kasese hosted the Community Biodiversity Run as a preparation for the Tusker Lite Rwenzori Marathon set to happen on the 2nd day of September 2023.
The well-attended and mobilized mock Run took place on the 19th Day of August 2023 at Rwenzori Square in Kasese Municipality attracting over 100 youth as participants and other members of the society including the Persons with Disabilities (PWDS), the Elderly and the women.
Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the travel and tourism industry is key to strengthening organizations by bringing new ideas, perspectives and open-mindedness to the forefront.
The Kasese Tourism Investors Forum who are the organizers of the Community Biodiversity Run have prioritized accessible tourism as they do destination management and marketing for destination Kasese
Accessible tourism enables all people to participate in and enjoy tourism experiences. More people have access needs, whether or not related to a physical condition. For example, older and less mobile people have access needs, which can become a huge obstacle when travelling or touring and tourism participation. Thus, accessible tourism is the ongoing endeavor to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. This includes publicly and privately owned tourist locations, facilities and services or activities.
18 Persons living with disabilities participated in the Community Biodiversity Run while 10 elders and over 100 youth actively participated in the running and are eager to transit to the Tusker Lite Rwenzori Marathon who were both awarded with medals, cash and special recognition by the Kasese Tourism Investors Forum through the Chairman and Chief Runner who was the State Minister for ICT; Hon. Baluku Godfrey Kabyanga.
Globalization has enhanced the diversity experienced in the hospitality and tourism industry because of its multicultural nature. Tourism involves the movement of people from their usual surroundings to places of interest either within the country or across international borders for leisure, business, fun or adventure.
Hospitality, on the other hand, involves providing services such as travel, accommodation and entertainment to meet the needs of tourists. Hospitality and tourism aims at optimizing the experience of tourists in cultural environments that differ from those of their home countries or regions. The importance of diversity in the hospitality industry must be understood as the number of international visitors is projected to increase and contribute to the economy.
Young people have always been an integral part of tourism. Countless destinations, in every global region, depend on them to support businesses and livelihoods, and the return of young travellers as the world opens up again brings hope for many millions of people.
At the same time, young people also make up a significant proportion of the tourism workforce. Indeed, our sector is one of the leading providers of youth empowerment, providing opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background or academic attainment.
The writer is a Director of Youth in Tourism and Community Tourism at Kasese Tourism Investors Forum, Youngest CEO of the Year 2022 as well Travel Writer of the year 2022.
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Kameli Zepha Bwambale
Kameli Zephaniah Bwambale (Uganda) is an African Business and Community Leader, Writer and Business Development Professional working to transform Africa through Business and Community Leadership. He is the National & Global Coordinator at Shirikisha Civic Organization of East Africa-SCOEA Secretary to the Board and Managing Director at Musingika Tourism Company Limited (Uganda's Youngest CEO of the Year 2022 and Top20 Tourism Writer of Year 2022) He has worked as a Business Trainer, Consultant and Business coach at Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) and Rwenzori Albertine Regional Trade Association (RARTA) He is a graduate of the University of Georgia, USA), the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (UK) and Kabale University (Uganda) He is a Board Member at YOPSA Financial Services Ltd, Kasese Tourism Investor's Forum , Kalu Mart Health Centre and Green Girls and Women Conservation Program-Uganda He is an alumnus YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa at Kenyatta University and participant United Nations Global Compact pursuing tourism, climate change, environmental conservation, Civic engagement, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship agenda for transforming Africa.

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