10.2 C
Monday, March 20, 2023

Tourism is Uganda’s Silver Bullet

Uganda’s National Development Plan(NDP) lists tourism among the sectors that aught  be prioritized. The tourism sector is Uganda’s silver bullet for clearing the path for socio-economic development.

As we celebrate the 37th Liberation Day, there is a need for the media to portray a positive image of Uganda in order to boost the tourism industry.

The International media and tourism industry globally have all now endorsed Uganda as one of the most attractive destinations to visit. We must take advantage of this and push our tourism to higher performance levels. The tourism center has performed exceptionally well to become one of the leading foreign exchange earners for the country, contributing over 7.7% to the gross domestic products (GDP) and over 667,000 jobs before the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In 2022, the sector earned $521,000 compared to $ 1.6b in 2019. However we have noted significant recovery in recent months.

The sector also contributes to the multiplier effect in the other sectors such as transport,energy and agriculture.

Uganda’s brand has been taken to the African region and other parts of the world. We have successfully participated in tourism expos and competitions, winning awards and benefiting  from the associated publicity.

The Government, through the Uganda Tourism Board(UTB), has organized Explore Uganda and other campaigns aimed at endearing the Ugandan brand  to domestic tourists.

The pearl of African Tourism Expo 2023, which is Uganda’s signature event, will be held in April. It will bring together over 100 hosted buyers and over 300 exhibitors.

Tourism facility owners and service provider are currently being sensitized on the need for adherence to the regulations and standards governing the sector. Services provided at Ugandan Hotels should match the brand promise offered to tourists who visit our country.


You will recall that tourism sector was badly hit by the COVID-19 lock-down and later the Ebola outbreak.It will take a time to recover. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Travel and Tourism Council Findings predicted that between 2019 and 2026, the 10 fastest growing destinations for leisure-travel spending would be India, followed by Angola, Uganda, Brunei, Thailand, China, Mynanmar, Oman, Mozambique and Vietnam. The COVID-19 pandemic, to a certain extent, disrupted this prediction.

However,the sector is making good strides in regards to recovery. The Government of Uganda deemed the sector an essential service sector and our fleet of tourism vehicle was permitted on the roads during the COVID-19 times.

A study conducted by the tourism ministry revealed that at  least 70% of the workforce in the tourism industry lost their jobs because of the pandemic. It also says that 91.8% of the tourism entities had furloughed or downsized the workforce by the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of June 2020.

The report further revealed that hotels were one of the industries hardest-hit by COVID-19, with 75.2% of all hotel bookings in Uganda cancelled by the end of June 2020. Hotel occupancy rates were reduced from an average of 58.2% before COVID-19 to as low as 5.3% by the end of June 2020.

A total of 448,996 hotel room booking between March 2020 and June 30, 2020 were cancelled, which caused a loss of revenue amounting to $320.8(sh.1.19 trillion).

The report also showed that 90% of tour operator business registered client cancellation of bookings between March 2020 and June 2020. As a result, tourism revenues in excess of $30.4m(shs.0.11 trillion) had been lost by June 2020.

In all this, the sector made a significant contribution towards the much-needed revenue despite the pandemic. If we are to use the number of visitors to our National parks as a proxy to gauge tourism recovery, for instance,prior to COVID-19 (in 2019) Murchison falls National Park received 103,665 visitors while Queen Elizabeth National Park received 77,995 visitors.

By the end of 2022, Murchison falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National park received 146,649 and 95,340 visitors, respectively. This should give us hope that the sector is recovering steadily.


Over the years, UTB has also supported various cultural and tourism promotion activities of the clusters Such as the annual Empango celebrations and the Tooro royal tours in a bid to spur travel demand in Tooro kingdom.

We have also promoted the Acholi cultural festivals to highlight the Acholi culture,in addition to the Imbalu festivities in Eastern region that have brought together the Ugandans and Kenyan president in celebration of culture

We also fully embraced the Buganda Tourism Expo,held once a year since 2015 to showcase the kingdom’s culture and heritage.

UTB and the tourism ministry have also supported and organised domestic tourism promotion campaigns such as “Tulambule” in Ankole, Busoga, Lango and Acholi.

We have aslo promoted annual school outreach programmes organized in various regions of the country including Busoga, Ankole, Lango and Kigezi to highlight the tourism in education programmes as enshrined in the Tourism Act  (2008)

UBT has also promoted and fully embarked the religious  tourism events  such as Uganda Martyrs celebrations, Bishop Hannington Day and St. Matia Mulumba and Mapeera Day celebration since 2015.

The Ankole Cow show, which is aimed at highlighting the famous Ankole,is another that we have embraced,in addition to annual Miss Tourism regional events organised by respective regional clusters.

Adventure tourism activities such as the Kagulu hill climbing challenge, the annual source of the Nile adventure events and the establishement of the Biharwe Monument  to commemorate the Ankole eclipse in 1520AD are initiatives that should give Ugandans a reason to celebrate Liberation Day.

Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here