By FRANK SEMATA

 After a strenous and fatiguing five months search for the next tourism ambassordor in 12 clusters across the country, margrete kankwanzi emerged victor of this year’s miss tourism after a high contestation from eleven other beauties all the way from Ankole, Buganda, Bunyoro, Kigezi, West Nile, Eastern and Northern Uganda at the finale held at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

The thrilling sound from vuvuzellas, drums, ululations, thunder claps and loud roars hit the air as the 21 year old’s name was called to victory. The night belonged to the unbounded queen all the way from the beautiful highlands of Kigezi who was crowned by the winner of the 2017 pageantry Challa Elma from Karamoja who also led her to the queen’s seat.

The also saw northern uganda’s Ayen Emilly come up as 1st runner up, Lebu Laura from West nile came up as 2nd runner up. The winner (kankwanzi) not only received the crown but also a plot of land from the particular region of residence as well as representing Uganda at miss world tourism held in Malaysia as well as a trip to Dubai and any other destination of her own courtesy of Ethiopian airways, the 1st and 2nd runners up will represent the country in China and the pearl respectively, as well as a free course at ISBAT university.

Other winners included; Lebu Laura(sports queen of the year), Shadia Nabude(miss congnuality), Faith Ainembabazi(miss personality), Muhindo Peace(miss photogenic), Rebecca Ainembabazi( national costume queen), Lebu Laura(miss popularity), Ayen Emilly(miss conservation), Lebu Laura(miss popularity), and Gloria Allen – most active queen 2017, Northern Region 2017-18.

As the theme of this year’s contest stated, “LET THE PEARL SHINE,” it is all centered on preserving mother nature as well as promoting Uganda’s tourism by showcasing her beauty as the “Pearl of Africa” distinctivly both locally and internationally. its at this point where the executive director of National Forestry Authority(NFA) Mr.Tom Odong asked Ugandans to visit and support national tourism sites and in a bid to restore the nature, He gave each participant 10 indeginous tree species.

“To conserve the environment in order to fight floodings, landslides and climatic change, we are offering 10 tree indeginous seedlings to comemorate this day.” Odong emphasised.

State minister for tourism, wild life and antiquities, Hon. Kiwanda Godfrey Suubi made it clear that the country is safe for tourism, he called upon politicians to always put the country in mind before starting up chaos because they paint a poor image to our country’s most powerful invisible exchange earner.

“To boast the marketing strategies for Uganda’s tourism both locally and internationally, campaigns to create awareness of tourism resources in uganda are to be hyped forexample increasing drives like ‘Tulambule campaign’, ‘Twende Uganda campaign for East African community as well as Pearl of Africa campaign.” Kiwanda added.

The pioneer of miss tourism Uganda, the late minister Mariam Mutagamba was highly recognised for her work in the tourism industry.

This years sponsors of miss tourism 2018 included Radiant hair cosmetics, Uganda wild life Authority, Kampala Serena hotel, National Forestry Authority , Hair by Zziwa, Uganda wild life Education Centre, Uganda Tourism Board, Fenon Events, Uganda civil Aviation, Mutagamba estates, ISBAT university and many more.