Having a dream was enough for Kato to start his tour company  

Isa Kato is the managing director of Pristine Tours Limited, a tour company he has run since 2013.

Yet unknown to many, Kato wanted to be a mechanical engineer but fate, later, decided otherwise.

“My childhood dream was to be a mechanical engineer because I always admired people putting on overalls while at work. In fact, during my A level vacation, I enrolled at the Spear Motors Apprenticeship Training Centre,” Kato says of his journey.

However, everything changed along the way.

“I couldn’t proceed with the engineering course because my dad refused to pay fees arguing that I should go to Makerere   where I had been admitted. He said he couldn’t pay fees for an engineering course when he had already paid at Makerere. After two months of defiance, I finally joined the university for the tourism course,” he says.

The more Kato studied tourism, the more he fell in love with it and as they say, the rest is history.

When he finished university, Kato who was now a tour guide, embarked on starting his own tour company.

“I first registered as a business name and later on incorporated it. I didn’t have enough money, but I had a dream. I started a company with less than shs1 million. Our first office was at home in the sitting room. I got clients through different referrals since I was a professional tourist guide,” he says.

Kato still has memories of Anna and John, a couple from UK who were his first clients and spent seven days in Uganda under his tourism guidance.

He says he never looked back.

According to the 39-year-old, things were not easy since the standards were very high in the tourism business.

He says that this meant that one had to perform highly and to the expectation of the clients to ensure they recommended the company to friends and colleagues.

“Referrals and online presence were my main source of our clientele. We are also took part in many international expos to promote our services mostly in Europe, Canada and USA,” he says.

Kato says he has continued with this formula using digital marketing skills through the company website, social media platforms and emails marketing his company.

“It is very complicated to promote tourism business without online presence. I therefore market my company aggressively on social media and this has paid off,” he says.

The born of Kayunga district and holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management says that throughout the years he has attained a number of qualifications in the tourism business including being a bird and nature guide and training in the hospitality industry among others which have seen him move several places.

“I am proud of all that I have achieved because of tourism. I have traveled the world, looked after my family and steadily grown the number of staff in my office.”


Kato says that one of the biggest challenges in the tourism industry in Uganda is lack of professional human resource and this means people to employ in the industry are few.

“Ugandan youths can have a poor attitude towards work but there are also little or no efforts by government to change this especially in the tourism sector,” he says.

He says that government ought to help market the country’s tourist attractions to ensure many tourists come to Uganda for the benefit of those in the sector.


Kato advises the youth to be patient as they pursue success because nothing comes on a silver plate.

“We should explore more ways to support our economy rather than looking for government jobs. Many youths are yearning to go into politics thinking there is free money, but my advice would be that we should invest in innovation and starting businesses. We should also have a passion for whichever work we are doing because that’s how growth in business can be achieved,” he says.

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