UGANDA MARKS WORLD TOURISM DAY
UGANDA MARKS WORLD TOURISM DAY
Uganda joined the rest of the world on Tuesday 27th, September 2022 to commemorate World Tourism Day celebrated under the theme “rethinking tourism,” at Sheraton hotel Kampala. The theme places emphasis on how sector players can rethink the tactics of endearing the masses to enjoy nature in a sustainable and eco-tourist way.
The guest of honor Hon. Frank Tumwebaze Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries was joined by Hon. Tom Butime Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon. Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, State minister for Tourism, Ms. Doreen Katusiime Permanent Secretary among many government officials, development partners and the media.
Hon. Frank Tumwebaze underscored the need for a joint forum to move tourism in one direction. “My emphasis and reach today is that tourism is not an isolated sector for a few players and stakeholders but rather a unifying sector in that if it wins, everybody wins. More tourism numbers mean more profits for everyone and every player at all levels. That’s why I call for the formation of a forum for the tourism sector just like other sectors. I also call for effective and sensitive communication. Ugandans are good at breaking news, but let’s have an organized way of communicating about issues to still have tourists come here,” he noted.
Hon. Tom Butime explained that this year’s World Tourism Day theme “Rethinking Tourism” clearly defined what economies need to do to strategize in order for tourism is bare the much-needed fruits for all. “Rethinking as the phrase goes, simply implies doing things differently, moving away from the ordinary and rather capitalizing on new and improved ways of developing, managing and promoting tourism for sustainable development,” he said. He explained that Uganda had intensified the domestic tourism drive with the aim of creating awareness about the beauty of this country to the domestic market. “Therefore, the initiatives like World Tourism Day celebration are a great platform for us as a sector to share and showcase not only the opportunities and benefits from the tourism sector but also the need to preserve and conserve our natural, cultural and historical beauty on which tourism largely depends,” he noted.
UTB Board chair Hon. Daudi Migereko noted the need to invest in the tourism industry. “We are ready to work with several partners including the cabinet to advocate for the betterment of the tourism industry. Recently, King Oyo summited the highest peak of the Rwenzori mountains. That is a is big achievement for the industry. The King is also a great ally for the tourism industry. We additionally need to centre our focus on sports tourism which has put us on the world map given the gold medals that Uganda gets from participants each year,” he emphasized. Hon. Migereko lauded social events such as Nyege Nyege as big platforms to promote tourism as these put Uganda on the world map given the vast numbers of international participants that come to attend the festival like witnessed recently at Itanda falls which hosted more than 20,000 revelers for the three days of the event.
KCCA ED Dorothy Kisaka revealed that KCCA is currently working on making Kampala a smart city so as to meet the needs and expectations of residents and tourists and also make it vibrant and sustainable. She revealed that the three core pillars that are championing the smart city project included technology, infrastructure and people. These will enhance service delivery, beautify the city and enable a smart way people work, live and enjoy the city. “The city accommodates people from all over the country, region and the world and therefore we invite our tourists to come to a city where we all co-exist,” she said.
Ms. Kisaka also highlighted on the partnership KCCA has in development of tourism in Kampala through a Memorandum of Understanding with Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Wildlife Authority. KCCA supports the attraction of tourists through social events that increase visitation numbers to the city.
One of Uganda’s key sources of foreign exchange earnings and the largest job creator to many young people is tourism. In 2018, the tourism sector contributed 7.7% of the country's GDP and generated 667,600 jobs while 2019 had 5.9% of GDP with 671,000 jobs. As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic that ravaged the globe, the sector could only marshal 2.7% of GDP in 2020 which translated into 489,000 jobs. With the opening up of the economy, there has been a slow but steady rise of tourists visiting across the country as well as the funds to support the economy. The Sector is upbeat that this recovery will continue despite the challenges in the sector posed by the pandemic.