Simba Group Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Bitature has been named Entrepreneur of the Year at the just-ended African Tourism Leadership Forum, held in Gaborone, Botswana.
The multi-sectoral entrepreneur was recognised for “showing tremendous entrepreneurship impact in Africa’s hospitality industry”, according to a statement released by the Group.
The Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) is a Pan-African dialogue platform that brings together key stakeholders of Africa’s travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors to network, share insights, and devise strategies for intra-Africa travel and tourism growth across the continent, whilst enhancing the brand equity of “Destination Africa’’.
The Simba Group owns and runs the Protea Hotel Naguru Skyz and Protea Hotel Kampala.
Resilience and excellence amidst tough times
Commenting about the award, Dr. Bitature dedicated it to his resilient and diligent hospitality teams.
“This award celebrates the true spirit of Uganda’s entrepreneurship and the positive economic prospects ahead. I am indebted to all my colleagues at Simba Group, particularly the Mariott Kampala Skyz Hotel team, for whom I dedicate this award for their diligence in delivering a world-class facility,” Dr Bitature said.
Dr. Bitature said the global recognition coming just a few months after Uganda came out of the Covid-19 related lockdowns is a testimony to the excellence the Group continues providing in the hospitality sector in Uganda.
“To be recognised during such extraordinary times is a strong validation of our efforts to provide a haven for all our guests, a safe home away from home. I am honoured to celebrate this incredible achievement with our staff who selflessly put the needs of others above their own. I am also grateful for the strong support from our partners, customers, employees and business associates,” Dr. Bitature added.
“We pride ourselves in providing hospitality excellence and exceeding our guests’ expectations at both of our hotels. The positive reviews reflect how we have constantly been commended by worldwide travellers and praised for unparalleled services.”
Optimism in the hospitality sector full recovery
Commenting about the performance of the sector in the post-Covid-19 environment, Dr. Bitature said he was bullish about sector recovery, headlined by steady growth in the meetings, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) and related hospitality economic opportunities in Uganda in the next five years.
He projected a 20-30% year-on-year growth, powered by increased investments into world-class meetings, incentives conferences and exhibitions (MICE) as well as associated hospitality facilities in Kampala and the projected national macro-economic growth prospects.
Dr Bitature said the MICE sector growth prospects in Uganda will also provide a positive economic ripple effect for suppliers to the hospitality sector, including farmers.
He added, “The Growth of the local meetings, incentives conferences and exhibitions hospitality sector including bed capacity will continue to be sustained in the medium term with direct and indirect benefits to various stakeholders such as farmers sector suppliers and hospitality professionals.”
To leverage these opportunities, he said, the Group was redefining its value proposition for the MICE segment to become a “strategic partner and facilitator of more sustainable events, a fundamental feature that will be at the forefront of the future development of the industry.”
This is not the first time the Group is being recognised.
Protea Hotel Kampala has previously won multiple awards including “Uganda’s Country Winner of the World Luxury Hotel Awards 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Africa Luxury Business Hotel Award 2013 and the Global Tourism Awards; Best Business Hotel in Uganda 2021.
Simba Group’s Protea Hotel Kampala Skyz has won a number of awards, including Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice 2021, 4 Star Rating and the Global Tourism Awards’ Best 4 Star Hotel in Uganda 2022.
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