Tuesday, 22 November 2016

UGANDA: Government Injects Shs 231 billion To Boost Tourism Capacity.

Three government and private tourism agencies have unveiled four Uganda tourism products, costing Shs231 billion to boost the countries tourism capacity.

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) in collaboration with Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) unveiled the new products, including Namugongo Shrine Faith Based Tourism, Uganda National Museum Indigenous Dinner, Uganda Rwenzori Cultural Trail, and Interpretation Capacity Building for Birding on Wednesday at a tourism review workshop in Kampala.

The money will be raised through partnership with local and tourism companies from neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Rwanda, among others, with UTB, UTA and TMEA contributing the biggest percentage.

According to Mr Richard Kawere, UTA's technical coordinator, the funds will be used to construct accommodation structures, cultural museums and marketing of the new products.

"This is just an estimate of the costs that would be incurred in establishment and marketing of new tourism products. The final budget will be established after consultation meetings and site visits," Mr Kawere said.

Mr Wanjiku Kimamo, the TMEA senior programmer, whose organisation has supported the project with Shs1.1b, and Mr Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive officer, UTB, said the new products will, among other things, enhance tourism institutional capacity and sustainability through building national tourist apex associations; encourage private public dialogue; as well as improve competitiveness and marketability of Uganda tourism products.

"Our partnership is to increase trade for prosperity in the EAC region. We are looking at increasing tourism and export capability of EA countries," Mr Kimamo said.

Mr Kimamo called upon EA governments to take tourism as one of the priority sectors because of its strong participation of enterprises, opportunities to create jobs, increase incomes and contribution to national economies.

Mr Asiimwe said new products will boost tourism earning from $1.4b (about Shs4.9 trillion) to more than $2b in the next two years. He said the products are estimated to attract 100,000 potential visitors annually, spending $250 (about Shs900,000) a night.

"Focusing on visitor's stay and what they spend will translate into increased visitor volumes and value to the economy. If implemented, this will strengthen competitiveness of Uganda as a destination," Mr Asiimwe said.

Mr Bonifence Byamukama, the UTA president, said their 2015 study revealed that many tourists go back with the money because Uganda tourism has been reduced to only wildlife.

"Uganda's tourism has been rotating around guerrillas and other wild animals. We need new spice in the tourism industry," Mr Byamukama said.

Details. The sector's total contribution to Gross Domestic Product in 2015 was 9.9 per cent at Shs6,395.4 billion compared to 7.9 per cent at Shs5,495 billion) in 2013 and 8.8 per cent in 2012 which was Shs4,993.6 billion. Receipts from tourism have also increased from Shs449 million in 2007 to about Shs1.148 billion in 2014.