President Museveni is planning a visit to one of Uganda’s national parks in order to promote domestic tourism.
Museveni met with officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Uganda Tourist Board, and other private sector tourism stakeholders on Tuesday, urging them to work together to boost the country’s tourism sector.
Several contentious issues were discussed at the meeting, including the government’s handling of tourist investment, which markets to focus on, marketing strategies, the Pearl of Africa Tourism Exhibition brand and the Dubai expo, skilling and capacity building, and conservation programs.
As part of the government’s attempts to encourage tourism, the president agreed to a request from tour operators to visit one of the national parks.
The private tour operators also requested membership on the boards of Uganda Airlines, Uganda Tourism, Uganda Investment Authority, Export Promotions Board, and Petroleum Authority, among other organizations.
“The Ministry should collaborate and harmonize with private trip operators.” Take a look at all of your good ideas. All parties should be involved. “There is no difficulty with them being included on the boards,” Museveni stated.
State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, Permanent Secretary Doreen Katusiime, former Minister of Lands and Housing Daudi Migereko, UTB CEO Lilly Ajarova, and the leadership of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) and the Association of Uganda Tour Operators were among those who attended the meeting (AUTO).
As of 2019, tourism is Uganda’s largest export, accounting for over 660,000 jobs and contributing US$1.6 billion to the country’s GDP.
The COVID19 pandemic, on the other hand, wreaked havoc on the industry, with airport closures and lockdowns.
Civy Tumusiime, the board chairwoman of the Association of Tour Operators, encouraged the president to act in the case of communities living in national parks, such as fishermen, pastoralists, and farmers, who are always in confrontation with animals.
Tumusiime also urged for a more aggressive marketing campaign, as well as better cooperation and private sector strengthening.
She later suggested that the president meet with and address the private sector actors in the industry, which includes over 3800 hotels, 600 tour operators, and over 700 tour guides, the majority of whom are young.
Museveni also ordered that the stakeholders meet in three weeks to come up with a consensus position before another meeting.