Uganda is a gifted country, with variety of wildlife to showcase to a tourist.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Finance, the tourism sector contributes 7.7% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and earns Uganda at least Shs6 trillion per annum.
But with the Covid-19 outbreak, the tourism sector was greatly affected.
Government restrictions which included the lockdown and quarantine of travellers from foreign countries due to pandemic caused losses to the tourism sector.
Sector players are now calling for more government intervention to reduce pressure on their operations and guarantee business survival until total recovery.
While appearing on NBS TV’s Spotlight on Monday night, Doreen Katusiime, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities said they are seeing some good signs of recovery.
“We have a saying in the sector that ‘tourism is everyone’s business.’ We have a lot of goodwill from several partners who are supporting different recovery projects,”she noted.
At the ministry level, Katusiime explained that they have started sending out teams to different communities around the national parks to see how the projects are progressing.
Katusiime said that as a ministry, they are looking at strategies that will help the sector to recover by looking at aggressive advertising and improvement of the tourism infrastructure, among others.
“We did an analysis of the effect of Covid-19 on the tourism sector and the results were disheartening. We are hopeful now of the recovery of the sector because the lockdown has been lifted and a vaccine is here,”she said.
The executive director, Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre(UWEC), Dr James Musinguzi, applauded the government and Ugandans at large for the support rendered to them during Covid-19.
“We got the support of over $1M that kept us going during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. I want to thank Ugandans out there because they took care of us. Some Ugandans brought food every day to feed the animals and this helped us through the pandemic,”he said.
He explained that they have intensified their marketing efforts where they can spread the gospel of tourism and wildlife conservation as one one way of recovering from the pandemic.
“We are not doing this alone. We have partners who have come on board to help us spread the message. We don’t wait for people at the zoo, we have outreach programmes to reach the people where they are,”he said.