Uganda needs to unleash its tourism potential

July 31, 2013

Uganda, a country gifted by nature, will fascinate you. The diversities of languages, cultures and tastes, make the country so charming. Sceneries like Murchison falls, Source of the Nile, Queen Elizabeth National park, Kidepo National park to mention but a few are set for an unforgettable holiday. It is a country where a visitor has an opportunity to experience unparalleled luxury and a level of refinement that is head and shoulders way beyond what other tropical holiday destinations offer. Despite the huge tourism potential, remain untapped and under-appreciated. Uganda’s tourism sector has grown steadily in recent years. International tourist arrivals have increased significantly every year and last year earned the country close to $1 billion in foreign exchange. The real star of the Uganda’s tourism sector is regional and International travel, which last year generated $800 million for the economy. Much of this growth has been led by the private sector as Air Uganda has opened new routes in the East African region and hoteliers have followed suit with several international hotel chains said to be planning to open luxurious hotels in the country.

As with many other sectors in Uganda, tourism is hampered by a lack of proper infrastructure and connectivity. Entebbe International will open an expanded airport in the next couple of years, which means more tourists, but it is by no means the only destination worth visiting in Uganda. According to recent media reports in Uganda, tourism is now an economic priority within the whole of government. Tourism does, after all, directly contribute hugely to employment and gross domestic product. When it comes to the sector, it is a major job creator, accounting for 10 -12 percent of the labor force. In Uganda just like most other third world countries, people entering the tourism sector requires little training and can start work almost immediately. Longer term, however, the government must build infrastructure to support tourism. The ministry should also promote tourist destinations across the country and develop special tourism areas as a sign of where Uganda should be going under the vision 2040. One thing I can assure you is that in Uganda you will discover the true meaning of ‘spectacular beauty’ a realization that will compel any visitor to return to “pearl of Africa” time and again.

Contador Harrison