Since the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Uganda, the number of domestic tourists visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park has increased dramatically.
Following the onset of COVID-19, the industry was severely harmed by both local and international lockdown restrictions, which included a ban on inter-district mobility and the suspension of international flights.
According to data obtained from the national park, the last three months have been the busiest, with more than 100 local tourists visiting the tourist sites, the greatest number in several years.
The most popular savanna park in Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park, is the finest spot to watch lions and prides in a wide array of habitats, including lakes, savannah grasslands, woods, and wetlands, which are home to the country’s largest variety of large mammals.
The surge, according to Stephen Nyadru, Assistant Tourism Warden at Queen Elizabeth National Park, is due to incentives offered to local tourists following the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Park service fees will be reduced by 50% as part of the incentives.
Nyadru also told URN that the pandemic, which has knocked the tourism industry to its knees, has forced them to refocus their efforts on domestic tourism.
According to Raymond Kato, an ecologist at Queen Elizabeth National Park, the park’s lack of a thriving tourism industry has allowed species to recolonize their natural grazing zones. This means that the number of species has substantially grown, which is good news for visitors to the park.
Marion Ninsiima, a local tourist who spent two days in Mweya, says she chose to visit the park after seeing advertisements for it on social media. She does, however, believe that the tourist industry has to raise awareness about why Ugandans should tour and learn about what they don’t know.
Another Ugandan tourist, Ian Rubahamya, recognizes that many Ugandans are unaware of their country’s rich natural treasures. He wants national parks to provide incentives to encourage locals to visit.
According to Gideon Tawebya, a park neighbor, the increase in tourists has boosted local tourism-related companies as well. According to him, enterprises such as craft shops and entertainment have had significantly more money in the last three months than in the previous two years.