Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and UEGCL have signed a deal to package and commercialise a variety of planned projects and activities at the power dams such as plant tours, boat cruises, sport fishing, hospitality facilities and souvenirs.
The deal is also aimed at marketing the 600MW Karuma hyrdo power dam and the 183MW Isimba power station as superstructure/infrastructure tourism products.
Isimba which was commissioned on 21 March 2019 and Karuma which is expected to be commissioned June next year, are all owned by government and managed by UEGCL.
Lilly Ajarova, the UTB Chief Executive Officer and Daudi Migereko, the UTB board chair signed on behalf of UTB while Dr Eng. Harrison Mutikanga, the UEGCL chief executive officer and Proscovia Margaret Njuki, the UEGCL board chairperson signed on behalf of the power generation company.
The MoU covers tourism product development and marketing.
The deal shall run for three (3) years from the date of signing.
Some of the tourism products/activities being considered for development by UEGCL at the two dams include: project construction videos/photos, exhibition rooms (plant models, rocks) at the visitors’ centre auditorium, guided plant tours, boat cruises, sport fishing and bird viewing on the reservoir lake at Isimba among others .
Speaking after the singing, Ajarova thanked the management of UEGCL for picking interest in tourism and for reaching out to UTB to form this value-adding partnership.
“This MoU marks the beginning of an important journey for Uganda. When brought to fruition, the successful development of Karuma HPP and Isimba HPP into tourism sites will further diversify our tourism portfolio and therefore contribute to our core objectives i.e., sustainably increasing the volume (numbers) and value (earnings) of tourism to Uganda and by extension, Ugandan households, and livelihoods, through the creation of jobs and increased tax revenue,” she said.
Mutikanga, speaking on behalf of UEGCL said that the MoU is in line with UEGCL’s five year strategic plan (2018 -2023) that among others, focuses on the key objective of enhancing its business portfolio.
He said the utilisation of the vast hydropower assets as a tourism product will go a long way in unlocking the infrastructure tourism potential in Uganda. This is premised on the fact that the hydropower stations have unique features both on the surface and underground.
Key to note was the fact that Tourism at hydropower sites was not new as this has been demonstrated at the
Migereko said that the MoU is part of UTB’s strategic cooperation agenda with key public, private and non-profit agencies and organisations whose work has a direct impact on tourism.
“In line with this partnership strategy, UTB has already inked a number of MoU’s with agencies such as Uganda Airlines, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) and the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) to promote Brand Destination Uganda. Other than the government, UTB has severally collaborated with the private sector, cultural and religious institutions to develop, package, profile and market several tourism attractions and assets to the domestic market,” he said.
A recent World Bank study— Statistical and Economic Analysis of Uganda’s Tourism Expenditure and Motivation Survey 2019 established that adding one additional night to all Ugandan tourists has been found to directly add $ 67 million to tourism industry earnings or $166 million in direct and indirect earnings, an equivalent of between 0.3 per cent and 0.7 per cent of GDP.