King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru IV of Tooro has called on his subjects especially the youth to embrace and value the Tooro culture. The King was speaking at the closing ceremony of the three-day launch of “Ekyooto ha Mpango” in the tourism City of fort portal organized by Talent Africa Group. The event was sponsored by Nile Special and Plascon Uganda.
While addressing the gathering, King Oyo revealed that the Ekyooto (fireplace) concept for the Kingdom has been redesigned and widened to include learning and skilling opportunities, especially to cater to the youth who have been hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the state of joblessness.
He added that sports activities, which are good for the body and many other tourism promotions, and culture conservation activities have also been incorporated within the Ekyooto concept.According to the King, in the ancient days while around Ekyooto, children were natured, inspired, guided and young girls and boys were groomed to become responsible citizens in the future hence the need to promote culture.
He added that “Ekyooto” was a place where parents told their children about grandparents, past leaders, and the good practices as well as Biblical stories for a better upbringing. He challenged his subjects against letting the Tooro culture die out in pursuit of modernity.
The Minister for Tourism, Wildlife, and antiquities Tom Butiime also noted that the “Ekyooto festival” is designed to showcase the best of the region and empower the community to tap into the power of the tourist movement in the Tooro kingdom.
Minister Butiime explained that the challenge of reigniting tourism after the Covid-19 pandemic requires proactive actions and policies that capitalize on the natural endowment of the Tooro region and Uganda at large.
He further maintained that the sector of Tourism had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which came with travel restrictions causing the country great loss in regard to revenue collection, and that in his ministry together with the United Nations Development Program, several interventions have been designed to boost tourism in Tooro region that hosts the tourism city and “Ekyooto” festival is one of the recovery plans.
The UNDP Resident Representative Elsie Attafuah also told the gathering that culture and tourism are powerful global economic engines that employ thousands of people thereby fostering sustainable economic progress.
“Ekyooto” Festival will henceforth be held two weeks before the coronation date in September of every year.
During the events, Queen mother Best Kemigisa awarded medals to participants who trekked to the peak of Mt Rwenzori, including kickboxer, Golola Moses of Uganda.
The event attracted many people in the tourism and entertainment industries including musicians like Aziz Azion, Spice Diana, among others. A fashion event that attracted several Models including Judith Heard, former miss Uganda Sylvia Namutebi was also held during the Royal Dinner on day two of the event.