Govt asked to have a centralised communication not to scare tourists

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Govt asked to have a centralised communication not to scare tourists
Dickson Kateshumbwa

To avoid scaring tourists away from the country, the government has been asked to establish a centralised communication system aimed at disseminating well-crafted information through local and international media.

Dickson Kateshumbwa, the Member of Parliament for Sheema Municipality, raised this proposal during parliament plenary on Thursday, noting that the government's communication has been sometimes alarming, affecting the tourism sector.

Kateshumbwa was reacting to a report by the parliamentary committee on tourism in which the government also urged to provide an additional 4 billion shillings to the Uganda Tourism Board to engage international and national media houses in the production of positive media stories for improved destination image, following the reports of drop in number of tourists from US, Europe and China visiting Uganda.

According to him, on several occasions, government communication agencies and ministries rush to spread negative news about the country, which the media picks up and turns into screaming news headlines.

He cited the defence ministry and other agencies for discouraging visitors to Uganda by issuing numerous terror alerts, particularly during festive seasons, prompting foreign countries to issue travel advisories in Uganda.

“Why can’t we have one central communication system such that when the government is communicating, it understands the implication of its communication on the economy? Because if you give negative news on the country it leads to a shortfall in revenue especially from tourism,” he said urging that the government should be considerate of the sector.

Kateshumbwa further advised the government to facilitate and equip its foreign missions and embassies abroad so that they can market Uganda to grow revenue and contribute more than 20% to its GDP.

Relatedly, Parliament’s Tourism Committee also recommended halting of approval of 10 billion shillings for lion breeding, due to the low return on investment and variations in cost of the Environmental Impact Assessment submitted by both Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) that quoted 250 million shillings while Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) quoted 500 million.

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