Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Entebbe municipality is pooling resources to mark, protect and preserve tourism sites within its jurisdiction.
Entebbe, Uganda’s first administrative town, holds several historical sites, parks and gardens. They include the first seat of the Ugandan Parliament, Muzinga square and Children’s Park, all close to the statehouse, the Botanical Gardens and the freedom tree.
The other sites are Kigungu Missionary Shrine where the first missionaries Brother Amans Delmas and Simeone Loudel first touched the ground after circumnavigating Lake Victoria, and “Entebbe za Mugula”, a heritage site of the Mamba clan after which Entebbe city was named. Entebbe also hosts the country’s wildlife education centre and the country’s first International Airport.
However, some of these sites are on the verge of destruction. For instance, the children’s park has been encroached on, with billboards and storied structures. According to the Municipal Deputy Mayor Richard Ssekyondo, the park is a risk for children in its current state.
Similarly, Muzinga Square is no longer accessible because of its closeness to State House Entebbe, while the history of the first parliament is phasing out since the building was handed over to the National Agricultural Research Organization-NARO, which uses it as its headquarters.
Entebbe Municipal Mayor Vincent Kayanja says that the municipality, under its Tourism Development Master Plan is earmarking resources to majorly secure all tourism, cultural and historical sites within the area as a way of restoring the lost glory of Entebbe municipality.
Some of the main tourist places like the Equator Island and the different water spots within the municipality have already been awarded to different developers including Kodet Cornelius, a Presidential Advisor on Karamoja for redevelopment.
However, Jonathan Baguma, a tourism operator in Entebbe says there is a need for the municipal administration to not only preserve but also create awareness for all these tourism places within the area so as for them to be beneficial to the municipality.
Baguma says, if the tourism sites become revenue-generating places for Entebbe, the municipality will have the capacity to not only secure them but also develop them to meet standards for international tourism.
Daniel Illunga, a senior officer at the Uganda Tourism Board says there is a need for collaborative responsibility where all tour operators engage in the preservation and promotion of all tourism, cultural and Historical sites in Entebbe if the country and Entebbe municipality is to benefit from such places.
Currently, Entebbe taps into revenue from tourists by earning hotel tax from the different hotels with bookings from tourists. In 2018, the municipal council collected up to 430 million Shillings as tax from the hotels within the area.
Vincent Kayanja De Paul the municipal Mayor for Entebbe says, the municipality is planning to budget for the preservation, marking and development of all the historical and tourist sites in Entebbe in the next financial year 2020/2021. Kayanja says this will enable the authorities to safeguard such sites.