Minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities col. (Rtd) Tom Butime has the charged Uganda Tourism Board of directors to foster the fast-tracking of the sector’s recovery from the damage wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was during the inauguration of the 4th board of directors of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) hosted at Mestil hotel and residences.
Before Covid-19, tourism was the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda generating USD. 1.6bn per year and contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s GDP stood at 7% with tourism sector employing 8% of Uganda’s labor force.
Butime tasked the new board members to register, license and accredit all tourism service providers across the tourism value chain as well as focus on aggressive promotion and marketing, product development, branding, quality and skills development as pillars for fast-tracking the recovery of the industry
“There is no way you can ensure quality and standards in the industry without licensing players. The regulation comes with capacity building efforts to support our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to cope with national and international standards.”
He as well noted that as the sector prepares to resume full operations, standard operating procedures (SOPs) should fully be complied with and that if compliance fails, it will be a hard task to rebuild confidence in prospective clients.
Cabinet on September 14th approved the appointment of members of the fourth board whose term of office will run for the next three years (2020-2023). These include;
Mr. Daudi Migereko – Board chairperson
Mrs. Susan Muhwezi – representing accommodation owners, hoteliers and providers of catering services.
Mr. Eddy Kirya – representing tour operators
Mr. Katende Sulaiman – reprenting the Uganda tourism association
Mr. Chemonges Sabila Mongea – representing Uganda Wildlife Authority
Mrs. Yewagnash Yogi Mamo Biriggwa – representing the private aviation sector
Al-Hajji Eng. Sooma Ayub – representing the civil aviation authority
Mr. Ronald Kaggwa – representing National planning authority
Mr. lyazi Vivian –representing ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities
Mr. Mwanje Paul – representing ministry of finance, planning and economic development
Mrs. Lilly Ajarova – Board secretary
The re-elected board chairperson Daudi Migereko appreciated the appointing authority for extending his term and several other members of the board. He also called for partnerships with the other East African countries aimed at operating in a much bigger environment.
The UN Deputy Resident Representative in Uganda Mrs. Sheila Ngatia said that according to a 2020 study by the United Nations in Uganda on the socio-economic impact of covid-19 pandemic, Uganda’s tourism sector is projected to register a loss of millions of dollars in the next five year period. So the plans on the sector’s recovery are very critical.
“We pledge UNDP’s commitment to partner with the ministry of tourism in developing solutions and responses to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on businesses, jobs and livelihood.” Ngatia said.