In the forthcoming festive season, Ugandans have been urged to take part in visiting the various tourist attractions around the country and not leave it to foreigners only.
Speaking to The Nile Post, Robert Mugabi, a tour expert and the proprietor, African Adventure Travellers Limited, on many occasions Ugandans don’t want to move around the country to tour the various attractions yet it is beneficial to them.
“Most of our visitors come from the US, Europe, South America, other African countries and a few Ugandans. This notion change and Ugandans should participate in touring their own sites,”Mugabi says.
“There are many things that many Ugandans have never seen just because they have never toured. By getting time to move around various parts of the country with families, they can learn a lot.”
Uganda received 1.32 million tourists in 2017, 79.2% from other African countries, Europe 8.3%, Asia 5.5% and America 5.4%.
Rwanda contributed the biggest share of tourist arrivals in Uganda with 362,865 followed by Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo and Sudan.
The Ministry of tourism wildlife and antiquities last month launched a tourism campaign dubbed ‘Christmas Tulambule Campaign’ geared towards attracting Ugandan travellers to local tourist attractions during the festive season.
It will involve activities like zoo festivals, music concerts and related entertainment, children and family parties held in different tourist areas across the country.
According to Mugabi, with such campaigns, in the next five years the number of Ugandans participating in local tourism will have increased.
Commenting about the level of tourism infrastructure, he says these have improve over the years despite a need for more improvement.
“For example the roads are no longer as impassible as they were in the past. We have seen a great improvement but more needs to be done.”
On the benefit to social life, he says many communities are thriving due to the money from tourists and the various tourist attractions, adding that it is a great fortune to the country.
“Some of these tourists especially from abroad end up taking up the welfare needs of some of the needy people in the various communities they visit. Many schools have been constructed by government out of the revenue got from tourism.”
Uganda targets at least four million foreign tourists by the year 2020 and government has earmarked Shs 32 billion for the tourism sector to ensure the target comes to pass.
In 2017, Uganda’s tourism sector fetched the country US$1.4 bn (Shs 5.1trillion) up from US$1.35bn received in 2016.