The State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra has urged players in the tourism industry to engage local communities so as to ensure there is prosperity of all stakeholders.
“Tourism can only prosper if it engages local communities by contributing to social values like education, participation and enhanced local governance,” Mugarra said.
The minister was speaking at celebrations to mark the World Tourism Day at Kampala Sheraton Hotel.
“This year’s World Tourism Day theme underscores the potential of tourism in promoting opportunities for communities around the world, as well as the role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable tourism development.”
This year’s celebrations are held under the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth.’ The will for travelling and seeing different places will forever be inscribed in our hearts.
Mugarra decried the heavy losses that tourism has suffered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic but applauded development partners and government for efforts to revamp the sector.
The disruption has seen Uganda’s revenue from visitors drop from the $1.6 billion got in the year 2019 prior to the pandemic to one third of the amount in 2020 but the prospects of 2021 are equally still bleak.
The minister however noted there is need to find ways of ensuring tourism is revived .
“The Covid pandemic has accelerated our realization that the solid tourism market base is right here at home. We have therefore initiated many campaigns to promote awareness and travel in the domestic market and we commit to do more. I call upon the private sector to focus on this local segment by developing relatable products and the right pricing for this market,” he said.