BY UGANDA VANGUARD
KAMPALA – Uganda is in advanced stages of negotiations with China for Uganda Airline direct flights to the Asian tiger country to boost local exports and attract tourists. According to the Tourism Minister, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the move will ensure cheap flights to attract Chinese tourists and facilitate trade between the two countries.
“President Yoweri Museveni during his recent visit requested his Chinese counterpart for direct flights from Entebbe to Beijing. The heads of states agreed and it now being followed up at ministerial level,” he told Uganda Vanguard.
Tourism, Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner of US$1.5 billion from 1.45 million tourists but now we have a target of US$2.7 billion by the year 2020 said Prof. Kamuntu while addressing a press conference on World Tourism Day at his office in Kampala Saturday, September 2019.
Celebrated every September 27 around the world, tourism day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development. The aim of the celebration is to cultivate and create awareness among the public of the significance of tourism. This year’s celebration will be held in Gulu under the theme of ‘tourism and jobs: A better future for all.’ This will be followed by ‘tulambule’ campaign to boost local tourism until 30th, 2019.
China with a population of about 1.5 billion is Uganda’s second-largest trading partner but with the latter’s exports standing at a mere US$60 million and imports at US$900 million, there seems to be one beneficially, China.
Flight UR320 took to the skies last month, marking Uganda Airlines’ maiden commercial flight to Tanzania’s commercial city of Dar-es-Salaam. In keeping with the airline’s promise of being punctual, the flight was 20 minutes early.
The CRJ 900 has a capacity of 12 business class passengers and 64 seats in economy class. Government placed an order worth US$ 190 million (Shs711 billion) for four CRJ 900 planes from Bombardier for regional airliners of which two have already been delivered. An airbus is schedule to be bought for long flight across continents in a couple of years
Mr Bradford Ochieng, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourist Board said the airline is offering promotional air tickets.