By Cohen Mweigwa
NOWYA, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has attributed the low numbers of tourist arrivals on failure by government agencies to market the country’s tourism potential abroad. Tourists to Uganda are expected to reach 2 million from 1.449 in 2017 and 1.323 in 2016. On average, 648.790 tourists came to Uganda from 1990 until 2017 but recorded the lower figures in 1990.
“The promotion of Uganda’s potential in wildlife has been poor. Countries that have nothing to show are getting more tourists than Uganda. Ministry of Tourism, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) should bring out the uniqueness of Uganda in the promotion of the tourism sector,” he said.
There is need for better planning and packaging of the uniqueness of tourism sector of Uganda, said President Museveni at the pass out of 487 UWA wardens at Paraa Ranger Training School, Purongo Sub County, Nwoya District Friday, 29th September 29th 2018. The President who has of recent been publically branded ‘Bosco katala’, a comedian artist who recoreded a popular MTN Uganda advert for bundles, contributed Shs100 million to the UWA staff saving scheme. The cash hand out is a similar venture he splashed millions of shillings to vendors in Kampala and Wakiso districts, a stronghold for the opposition, two weeks ago.
Regarding roads, he explained, “We need to systematically work on the roads in the national parks for the tourists to easily access the parks in comfort. You make a master plan and I will look for the funds,” he said.
President Museveni said with the restoration of Uganda Airlines, tourists going to game parks should but land in nearby district to parks with runways like in Kabale Gulu and Soroti instead of going through Entebbe International Airport.
He presented gifts to the best students Kajura Lawrence, best overall student, Wafula Emmanuel who excelled in academics, while Ronald Nkudu was best in field practice. Others were Galabuzzi Dedad, most disciplined male and Mapiri Ruth Tibeita took the slot of the most disciplined female student.
State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda noted the poor road network to Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks.
“Your Excellency, improvement of the infrastructure in these areas will contribute drastically increase the number of tourists visiting Uganda from 2 million to about 4 million annually.”
Mr Samuel John Mwanda, the executive director UWA endorsed the rangers’ course saying it is important to boost tourism, a key revenue earner to Uganda and announced new measures to promote tourism and deter poaching.
“We are going to purchase helicopters in the next financial year to assist in the transfer of animals and to patrol game reserves to prevent poachers from killing the animals,” Mr. Mawanda said.
Tourism contributed US$1.4 billion (about Shs5 trillion) to the country’s treasury, 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
President Museveni handed over cheques worthy Shs1.9 billion from UWA to 6 districts leaders neighboring Murchison Falls National Parks.