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Ministry of Tourism conserves for generations

 

Tourists view giraffes in Uganda’s Kidepo National Park. COURTESY PHOTO

NRM MANIFESTO WEEK |  Tourism is making a significant contribution to Uganda’s Vision 2040 of transforming Uganda into a middle-income country. It has become a transformative force propelling and fueling economic growth of the country. Tourism has become an invaluable unifying force, bringing together people of different nationalities, religions, regions and professions for tourism experience.

Among the many benefits and rewards of tourism include the creation direct and indirect jobs, government revenue earner, foreign exchange earnings, reduced urban drift, promotes gender equality, it is a source of investment opportunity, infrastructure and communication development. Therefore, the rewards of Tourism go far beyond revenue calculations.

# Outcome Indicators Baseline 2015/16 2018 Growth
1 Contribution to employment 504,000 667,600 32%
2 No of tourist arrivals 1.30m 1.51m 16%
3 Foreign exchange earnings (US$ Billion) 1.37 1.6 17%
4 No of visitors to (natural & cultural) sites 622,295 734,388 18%
5 Average per trip expenditure for a Leisure tourist (USD) 1,036 1,036

 

In the 2016 -2021 Manifesto, the NRM government committed to fund tourism promotion and marketing to enhance presence in the existing tourism source markets of Europe, USA and intensified in new ones such as China. This was realised since Government increased funding for Tourism promotion from UGX 8 bn in Fy 2015/2016 to UGX 20bn in FY 2019/20. Government also engaged Market Destination Representation (MDR) firms and market activations in the targeted markets. For instance, six firms were deployed in the core markets UK and Ireland, China, and Japan, North America, UAE, German speaking (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Consequently, benefits have been realized since the numbers of leisure visitors- the American market has increased by 10% annually since 2016; improved image of Uganda in these key Markets.  Over the same period, visitation to National parks and other selected tourist sites has increased by over 8.4% annually. The increased visitor numbers in Leisure and MICE have seen new investment in Hotel and Conference facilities.

In order to brand Uganda and its tourism products, and improve its image abroad, the development of the Pearl of Africa destination brand is underway. This will enhance destination Uganda Visibility in domestic, regional and international markets. Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has embarked on running promotional videos and actively engaged national conference and event organisers to provide pre, during and post event promotional packages. Tourism Promotional Videos are aired at major conferences held in the country.

The 2016 -2021 Manifesto also pledged to upgrade the Hotel Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) in Jinja to international standards. The UHTTI has been upgraded with a new 3-star training application hotel. In addition, two training labs (kitchens & Restaurants) and instructional facilities  have also been constructed. Government reviewed and improved the national tourism and hospitality curriculum. This is in an effort to improve the quality and competitiveness of labour force in Uganda’s hospitality industry.

To enhance wildlife conservation and preservation of cultural heritage, Government has put in place the Wildlife Act 2019 that provides for Penalties for Wildlife Crimes to ensure Uganda is no longer used as a source of transit for illegal trade.  As result, benefits such as increased population of Wildlife have been registered for example the elephant population has increased from only 2,000 in 1983 to 6,000; Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi alone have increased from only 298 in 1993 to over 459 by 2018; Buffalos have increased from 25,000 in 1982 to now 37,054; Uganda kob has increased from 40,000 in 1982 to 74,702 surpassing the post-independence numbers. More than 210 km of trenches were dug in National Parks to control human wildlife conflicts.  There was also establishment of projects such as installation of bee hives/apiary, tea and chilli growing at Protected Area boundaries to act as barriers for crossing of animals to communities.

Uganda Airlines has been revived and this has already improved accessibility from the tourist source markets in the East African region. The benefits of having this airline include improved convenience and reduced cost of air travel.  This has also resulted in increase in the number of visitors from the neigbouring countries by 3.2% in 2019.

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