Study on running tourism in Elgon Region officially published

To promote Kapchorwa as a prime destination for running tourism, in such a way that both the tourism sector and local economy benefits: that’s the ambition we have at Run Kapchorwa. We are working towards an annual running race and festival that engages both international runners and the Communities surrounding Home of Friends Guesthouse. Tourism partners in the Elgon Tourism Development Network and other Community stakeholders play a key role in the co-creation and execution of this event.

The ‘discovery’ phase of our project took place in March, a research module on the needs of different groups: expats, the existing running community, aspirational participants in various countries and the local Community. For this activity we recruited two local project assistants: Gloria and Josepert. Together they conducted 62 interviews with local leaders, NGO and government representatives. Mark Callaghan (running coach and project consultant) and Daan Oxener (business development manager Home of Friends) are leading the project team.

Besides online questionnaires, we studied two existing running events in Uganda and talked to experts in the field of Kapchorwa athletics and international running events. 

In five weeks’ time, we gained some relevant insights that will be utilised in the next stages of our project. A brief summary of some of the key outcomes:

  • A vast majority of Community stakeholders have expressed an interest in our running event, either as participant, vendor or organizer of a workshop or exhibition
  • Community meetings and information via local radio will help us engage the Community in a positive way
  • Professional marketing, a strong brand and strategic partnerships are key in attracting international runners to visit Kapchorwa
  • There is a need to emphasise the appeal of Kapchorwa to runners, but also on community engagement, cultural activities and other outdoor sports activities (hiking and mountain/road biking)
  • There is a wide agreement that the beautiful nature, landscape, people, weather and culture of Uganda and Kapchorwa particularly are a unique selling point and should be used in promoting Kapchorwa as a prime tourism destination

The last, interesting outcome was formed from the words that respondents used when they think of Kapchorwa / Uganda:

For more insights, download the full report here.

Besides insights, our five-week discovery phase also helped to build capacity of our local project assistants. Josepert says about this: ‘I learned about use of Google Docs and Google Forms and improved on my interviewing skills’.

In the meanwhile, we started to build a website, exclusively for running in Kapchorwa. Stay tuned for our launch in June 2020!

Daan (second left), Gloria (fourth right) and Josepert (right) after a session with stakeholders of the Elgon Tourism Development Network (picture taken at Casa Lodges in Sipi Falls).

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