The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Prof Ephraim Kamuntu has said despite various challenges facing the Tourism sector, they are optimistic of meeting the desired middle income status, come 2020.
He made the revelation while addressing journalists at the Uganda media centre to update them on the forthcoming martyrs Day celebrations in relation to faith-based tourism.
He enumerated the tourism sector challenges to include; inadequate budget allocation and skilled workers, lack of enough physical infrastructure such as; electricity, internet and water in national parks and climate change anomalies that bring about migration of animals, in search of food and water from the national parks among others.
“However, Government has put up measures to address these challenges; where we expect to raise the number of tourist arrivals from the current 1.4 million to 20 million annually by 2020. At the same time, tourism revenues shall be increased from the current $ 1.34 billion to over $ 3 billion by 2020, thereby achieving the middle income status of Ugandans”, he said.
He said the faith-based tourism is in line with the NRM Manifesto week, to advance the National Vision 2040.
“Faith-based tourism is a growing trend in the world right now. We all know about the successful pilgrimage to Mecca by the Muslims. In Uganda, we have the Uganda Martyrs Day, where more than three million faithful congregate at the three Uganda Martyrs shrines; Catholic, Anglican and Muslim in Namugongo. We receive visitors from all over the world including those from America, Europe and Africa”, he said.
This year, the Archdiocese of Tororo was chosen to organise and animate the 2018 Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations at Namugongo Catholic Shrine.
The theme of the 2018 event is: “Let us walk in the light of God as a family”