Uganda in Huge Tourism Boost after AFCON 2027 bid win.
Mark your calendars for a truly global sporting event: the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations Football Tournament. AFCON 2027, unlike previous tournaments, will be hosted by three countries: Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
This will be the region’s first time hosting a large-scale international sporting event. It is also East and Central Africa’s (CECAFA) football zone’s first time hosting the tournament in 47 years since Ethiopia hosted it in 1976.
The three countries bid for hosting rights through a joint application rightfully named “Pamoja” ( Kiswahili for ‘one’). The bid was confirmed successful by Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Patrice Motsepe in a late September AFCON meeting held in South Africa.
This is fantastic news not only for sports, but also for regional tourism and the associated revenues. For example, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania share three of Africa’s highest peaks (Margarita (Rwenzori, Uganda), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), and Mt. Kenya). They are also home to the famous national parks, Queen Elizabeth, the Maasai Mara, and the Serengeti.
The Pamoja bid’s acceptance marks a new chapter in the region’s sporting history, sparking a wave of excitement and anticipation among football fans, policymakers, and tourism enthusiasts alike.
Transportation infrastructure will see an increase in activity as teams, officials, and fans travel to different host cities. Roads, airports, and perhaps the East Africa Standard Gauge Railway will have to be upgraded to accommodate the influx of visitors.
The introduction of a regional tourism visa is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at facilitating seamless travel across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. This innovative approach is expected to spur tourism, allowing visitors to explore the myriad of cultures, landmarks, and natural attractions that define East Africa, thereby promoting the region as a premier travel destination.
The 2027 AFCON could also be an opportunity to achieve the long-desired but yet-to-be-achieved open East African skies, allowing for direct flights within the region.
The tournament is not just about football; it’s an opportunity to showcase the beauty and culture of East Africa to the world. Tourists are expected to flock to the region, exploring its diverse landscapes, wildlife, and vibrant cities. The economic impact will extend to the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, and tour operators.
Renovations and construction of the stadia and other infrastructure are well underway across the three countries. Uganda’s Mandela Memorial National Stadium has been in renovation since 2021, with several other stadia to escort it. These developments will benefit the region for many years to come, establishing it as a destination for future sporting and cultural events.
“I am humbled and pressured that the dream of taking Uganda to AFCON and bringing AFCON to Uganda has come true, and we have archived both.” said Moses Magogo, President of the Ugandan Football Federation.
According to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa, it is now time for the East African Community (EAC) to show the world what they are made of. “Winning the bid is the first step, it is a simple step, it is complicated, we fought through to win on top of the pile, but it is not to be celebrated yet,” Mwendwa explained. The work begins now.
AFCON 2027 is more than just a football tournament; it is the region’s collective effort to highlight the region’s diverse culture, unparalleled hospitality, and untapped potential.
Make your reservation as soon as possible; the sooner the better.
(Featured Image: Inset. AFCON trophy: sporting news.com)