Uganda targets 1m more tourists in 2019

The tourism industry’s growth last year leapfrogged other sectors, helped in part by an increase in the number of tourists and incomes.

Riding on that growth, government has announced that it is going to focus more of her energies on attracting an extra one million tourists both locally and internationally.


Hon.Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.8 million tourists in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 2017. In 2017, the 1.4 million arrivals injected about $1.4billion into the economy. This contributed to about 10 percent of the GDP.

In a speech in Kampala, Godfrey Kiwanda, the state minister for Tourism, said, “We are going to increase our marketing activities by contracting three more public relations firms for Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, (Qatar and Oman), Japan and China markets; the firms will be contacted at a cost of $0.5m per country,” he said.

Last year, Uganda contracted three PR firms from the United Kingdom, USA and Germany at a cost of $ 0.5m each. When the new PR firms for Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, (Qatar and Oman), Japan and China markets come on board, government will spend $3m on marketing Ugandan tourism.

Kiwanda further explained that; “Other targets will include digital marketing and use of celebrities who have a big following as tourism ambassadors; they should be able to compose songs for tourism and that can be done by taking them around our parks.”

Other programmes include local and regional campaigns such as Twende Uganda, Destination Uganda and Pearl of Africa campaigns.

Claire Mugabi, UTB’s marketing manager, said, “Twende Uganda targets East African tourists, Destination Uganda targets other non Kiswahili speaking Africans and the Pearl of Africa campaign targets international tourists…”

Kiwanda said; “Last year we recruited Zarinah Hassan, commonly known as Zari Hassan, a local socialite, and Kanye West and family were here…they will be made tourism ambassadors, but this will not stop anybody willing to come on board,” he said.


According to Kiwanda, in 2018 the sector did not only register strong achievements but also suffered severe tragedies and threats, which included the killing of a pride of 11 lions in Queen Elizabeth national park and the boat tragedy on Lake Victoria in November.

“The strength and resilience of the sector has helped us to recover, we now have thriving lions and a growing confidence of water transport and this is evidenced by travelers who visited Kalangala islands over Christmas,” he said.

Source:The  Observer

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New Born Baby Gorilla

On 11th September 2016, Gorilla Trackers discovered a baby Gorilla in the Bikyingi Gorilla group. The number of Gorillas in this group was previously 21 and now it appears to be 22.

This baby is believed to have been born the previous day.

Bikyingi gorilla group is located in Rushaga, South of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.It has 1 silver back, 9 adult females 2 sub adults and 9 infants. It is one of the two groups that are undergoing habituation in the park. Bikyingi is also the group where the famous Gorilla Habituation Experience (GHE) is conducted at the moment. Habituation of the group started in 2013 while the GHE started in January 2015. The last birth among the gorillas in BINP was on 21/08/2016 in Bushaho- a group under habituation located in Nkuringo in the Southern sector of the park.

Bikyingi group was first sited in Bikyingi area, near Rushaga before the process to habituate it started, hence it was decided to name it according to the area. The only silver back and leader of the group was also named Bikyingi. Naming of the other individuals has not yet been done as the gorillas are still shy because they are not yet fully habituated. Therefore, the mother of the new born does not bear a name at the moment. With the 9 adult females, all with babies, it is a very interesting and amazing group to visit for the Gorilla Habituation Experience.

The other special thing of Bikyingi group is that the silver back-Bikyingi is very friendly to all the babies in the group and is always with them most of the time, more time than the babies, except the newly born, stay with their mothers. The babies mainly go to their mothers to breast feed and return to the silver back as soon as they are done with breast feeding! This is one of the reasons it has been difficult to determine the mothers of particular babies as all the adult females in the group have babies.

Track Gorillas in this Group

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Uganda named Among the 20 Most Beautiful Countries in the World

Uganda was named the 13th Most beautiful country in the world, beating Australia,Norway,Philippines,Norway,Brazil and India…..

Mostly this was because:-

  • Though a small country, it’s the starting point of the most amazing and longest river in the world, River Nile
  • River is born from the “Mountains of the moon”, accurately known as Rwenzori Mountains.
  • Lake Victoria is the biggest Fresh Water Lake in the world; its biggest part is in Uganda.
  • Three quarters of the world’s last surviving mountain Gorillas are found in Uganda.
  • Although it’s beaten by other countries in the size of their national parks, it has all the Animals that inhabit the tropics.
  • Millions of bird species not seen anywhere else in the world e.g shoe bill
  • Lake Bunyonyi is the second deepest lake in Africa
  • Murchison Falls National Park has the best sightseeing and wildlife views in the world

Book a Uganda Trip now and find out more for your self


Lake Bunyonyi from Above

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Uganda marks World Tourism Day

Adapted from The Daily Monitor

Lira- The tourism fraternity has converged in Lira town to mark World Tourism Day today. Celebrated globally, World Tourism Day is meant to raise awareness of the importance of tourism.

Tourists During a boat Cruise

Tourists During a boat Cruise

The theme this year is “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities.” It is aimed at creating awareness of tourism power to drive inclusive development, create jobs and build the sustainable societies for the future.

“We are going round creating tourism districts but specifically settled for Lira town which is the worst in tourism preparedness, tourism development and getting visitors,” said John Ssempebwa, the deputy Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).

The body’s strategy is to decentralise tourism. This will be an opportunity to show the tourism potential in the northern region.

As part of the festivities, a week long exhibition of arts and tourism in Uganda was held at Lira Golf Course grounds, as well as discounted drives to Murchison Falls National Park.

Raymond Engena, the director of tourism and business services at Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA), said: “The drive was a directive intended to show the locals that tourism is not just for foreigners. There are so many wonderful places to visit in this country and this was just one of the ways of showing these people that they can always go there at their convenient time and at a cheaper cost”.
Yesterday, a live tourism concert was held at Lira Hotel to climax the festivities where local artistes such as Cindy Sanyu, Captain Ice, Holy Demsan, Mzee B of 2Stars and Lango traditional dancers put up energetic performances.

How Uganda is faring
Uganda’s monetary policy statement for August 2014 indicated that the tourism sector raked in $ 1.4b (about Shs5 trillion) in the 2013/14 financial year up from $1.1bn (about Shs4.2 trillion) the previous year, eclipsing remittances which fetched $800m (about Shs3b) and coffee which came third with $415m (about Shs1.5b).

Among some of the problems the tourism sector continues to face include poor service delivery, high transport costs, high rate charges in some of the accommodation facilitates, limited marketing due to inadequate funding, high competition from the neighboring countries and inadequate physical infrastructure for internal flights.
“The situation is still bad. We still have a lot to work on as a country,” Bosco Opio, a tour operator states.

Despite of the several challenges the country continues to face in the tourism sector, Opio believes that the concerned authorities should first work hard at changing the country’s image out there.

“Some of the tourists think about this country in terms of disease, corruption, war and Idi Amin. It is not fair to us,” he argues.

Opio says our country should not be known for such issues but rather in terms of the wonderful things she has to offer.

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Unveiling Kidepo’s healing hot springs

Adapted from The Daily Monitor


When it comes to adventure, Kidepo Valley National Game Park in Karamoja stands out. Those who have visited it will agree that its extra-ordinary features shape its outstanding beauty.
Many a tourist will tell you about the elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, leopards, jackals, bush bucks, and bush pigs, among other animals in the park. But maybe there is something you have not seen.
Through the streams in the Kidepo valley, dotted with palms and whistling acacia thorns, stands Kanangorok hot springs, a place where mother nature waved her magical wand and created one of the most natural of all wonders, natural hot mineral water. This remains a myth to those who have not visited it and a secret to those who have been there.

Kidepo is not short of mysticism, and Kanangorok hot springs forms part of this.
According to the conservation area manager, Johnson Masereka, the water is heated deep within the earth and come out as crystal clear carbonated water that is famous for their mineral content and legendary healing powers.
Masereka says the Kanangorok hot springs, that flow between rocks, over-look expansive grassy plains dotted with big rocky outcrops and flanked by steep-jagged mountains with the summit ridges of Napore range, Taan and Natera hills, part of Nyangea, Morongole and Zuulia forest reserves.


Tourists have a feel of the Kanangorok hot springs which is about three metres in length but is not clearly visible as it has been covered by rocks and vegetation due to years of neglect

Phillip Akorony, a guide at the hot springs, says Kanangorok is one of unique gifts of nature that makes Kidepo Valley National Park a must-visit destination for tourists.
He reveals that owing to the belief in their healing powers, the hot springs are an attraction to tourists and natives who bathe in the warm water believed to cure some skin diseases.
However, despite hosting this treasure, there is no road or clear path leading to the hot springs. One has to manoeuvre through scattered thorny trees along narrow footpaths subdued by overgrown grass and shrubs that scratch and pierce one’s body as they advance.
A hundred metres away from the hot springs lie two rocks that look like rivals meeting for a confrontation.

At this point, the hot springs are visible. Being shallow, one gets a magnificent view of the clean rocks. Right in the middle of the water lies the spot hot enough to boil food. The hottest spot is about three metres in length but it is not clearly visible as it has been covered by rocks and vegetation due to years of neglect.
On arrival to the site, one will notice dead cockroaches and other insects floating on the hot waters. This is the point believed to possess healing powers. But there is a lot of smell of Sulphur all over and when one bends to touch the waters, the smell of Sulphur remains in their hands.Many people allegedly bathe in the waters at this point.

Kanangorok hot springs has a temperature of about 60°C and a flow rate of 1 l/s. It is rocky all around and the surface geology indicates that the springs issue from alluvial and pediment gravel material at the base of Mt Murungole and is crossed by rivers Kidepo and Narus.
Geologists believe there could be travertine deposits, and sulphurous algae and hydrogen sulphide.
“We intended to open up this place and build around it but the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said it would develop this place to get economic value from this treasure,” says Masereka.

Other activities
For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo valley, though it is still worth the drive to visit the dry Kidepo River to stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with borassus palms.
According to Akorony, Kidepo comes from a Karimojong word “Kidep”, which means “to pick from below”. It was named by people coming to gather fallen borassus fruit below the valley for fermenting to make palm beer.
The Kanangorok hot springs lie 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border and this is a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier.

Apoka Safari Lodge in the heart of Kidepo Valley National Game Park boasts of hand-made architecture by local craftsmen. It comprises 10 self-contained bandas. The manager, Mr Oscar Rodrievez, takes pride in the swimming pool at the lodge, describing it as “deep and cool – carved out of the big rock. The kind of pool that makes you want to jump in, splashing and yelling, feeling like a child again.”

Local legend has it that it was named after Longorok, a young man assigned by a Sudanese traditional king to carry water in a gourd from Kochetut to Lotukei village in Southern Sudan. This was meant to appease the gods to let the rains pour in Sudan after a long period of drought .
“But on reaching this spot, clouds gathered and it rained heavily. Lightning struck, blinding Longorok, who later died. It is believed his blood and water mixed and then begun boiling and coming out of the rock that was later named Kanangorok,” narrates Phillip Akorony, a guide at the hot springs.

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UWA Lowers Gorilla Permit Price

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has just released some fantastic news for gorilla tracking in Uganda.

They have announced a low season promotion to enable visitors to enjoy their gorilla tracking experience at a discounted price. The promotional prices will apply for visitors wishing to track the gorillas in Uganda during November, April and May 2014.


The prices are as follows:


  • US$350 for Foreign Non-Residents
  • US$300 for Foreign Residents



Contact us for more information at

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Kenyan poachers face life in jail as Uhuru signs new law

Poachers and dealers in illegal animal trophies now face life imprisonment and a fine of more than KSh20 million (about Shs580 million) under a new law meant to protect endangered wildlife like elephants and rhinos.

The new law has also increased compensation for deaths and injuries caused by wildlife to about Shs145m and Shs58m respectively. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act into law on Christmas eve.

The stiff punishments are meant to tackle the rising cases of poachers killing wildlife for tusks, horns and skins for sale in the thriving South Asia market. Weak laws have seen Kenya become a conduit for smuggling illegal animal trophies.

“We are happy with the deterrent passed. With proper co-ordination with other government arms like Interpol and customs, we’ll curb the current situation. However, even with the laws, we still need Kenyans to work with us to save our animals,” said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) communications manager Paul Udoto.

Conservationists have previously called for stiffer penalties to tackle poaching, which has hurt the tourism industry, a top foreign exchange earner in Kenya. The country has around 40,000 elephants and 1,025 rhinos. Sport hunting, now classified as category B, will attract a five-year jail term, Sh5 million fine or both while category C animal hunters will pay about Shs29 million, a two-year jail term or both.

Those found hunting or trading in bush-meat face a one-year jail term, a KSh200,000 fine or both if convicted. Compensation for life lost to a wild animal has been increased to Sh5 million. Those who are maimed will receive Sh3 million while those injured will receive a maximum of Shs58 million, depending on the injury.

Poaching in the East African community countries

Last year, three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were among eight countries that faced economic sanctions over their failure to prevent widespread elephant poaching.

A report by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cides) increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat are threatening the survival of the elephant population in Central Africa as well as previously secure populations in West, Southern and Eastern Africa.
Thailand, China and Malaysia were also considered for sanctions because of claims that widespread corruption the report said was frustrating anti-poaching efforts.

The  report cited elephant population across Africa to be “under severe threat” as the illegal trade in ivory has grown over the past decade. Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are source countries while Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines are countries through which ivory is smuggled, while Thailand and China are destination countries.

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Uganda among 10 emerging tourist destinations in Africa

SOURCE:Daily Monitor

Uganda is among the 10 destinations that are on course to turn into popular tourists’ destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a World Bank report.

The Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods report indicates that Uganda together with Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles are scaling up tourism and emerging as a tourism destination.

The report, classified under the emerging tourism destinations, priorities countries that are performing well in terms of quality and competitiveness.

The report ranked Kenya among the eight destinations that have grown beyond scaling up to the consolidation stage, with relatively mature tourism sectors and only working on deepening and sustaining successes.

Kenya ranks in the same league with South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, Cape Verde and Tanzania in terms of consolidating the tourism sector and have the highest economic and tourism performance in region.

Burundi on the other hand, falls under the countries that have potential, indicating that it has shown some interest in tourism but it still lacks adequate governance of the sector.

Despite having some basic infrastructure for tourism, the country still faces market failures pertaining to regulation, resources, and institutions, which also affect macro-economic development.

The other countries that fall under the initiating category are Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Nigeria, Swaziland and Gabon.

The Africa World Bank vice president, Mr Makhtar Diop, said the continent has to fully recognise the potential of tourism to act as a vital source of economic development.

He added that with tourism contributing more than 9 per cent of global GDP, African countries are now in their best-ever position to harness the development promise of expanded, sustainable tourism.

On a sub-regional basis, tourism contributes most to East Africa’s GDP (5.5 per cent), with the safari being the primary tourism product for East Africa and Southern Africa.

The sector contributes 3.4 per cent to Southern Africa’s GDP followed by West Africa (2 per cent), with tourism contributing just 1.7 percent to Central Africa’s GDP.

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Eclipse: Uganda expects over 700 tourists

Over 700 international visitors are expected to come to Uganda to witnesses the historic total solar eclipse.

According to a paper which has been presented to cabinet by the tourism minister Maria Mutagamba, the international visitors are expected to generate 568,400 dollars.

About 3000 domestic tourists are expected and their total expenditure is projected at sh600, 000, 000m.

“The tourism sector has registered bookings from tourists coming to Uganda for this event and there is growing interest and pressure for accommodation services in areas where the solar sighting will happen,” Mutagamba stated.

Cabinet resolved to use the event to market Uganda globally and various ministries have been tasked to collaborate in rendering the necessary services.

The ministers agreed that on the need to prepare the communities within the solar eclipses sighting prepare and economically benefit from the influx of visitors.

According to Mutagamba’s paper, Uganda has been identified as the best location in the world to view the eclipse.

Although people in places like Soroti, Masindi, Arua and Gulu will be able to watch the eclipse, the best view will be possible in Pakwach around Owiny Primary School.

The private sector has written to the President also explaining to him about the need for the promotion of the event.

The minister argued in her paper that communities in Northern Uganda stand to benefit from the global event by selling souvenirs, food and accommodation services whereas the tour and transport operators will benefit by providing services to the tourists.

The tourism minister, who heads the inter-ministerial committee for the event, has requested for sh943, 321,743 for the various preparatory arrangements. The total budget for upgrading Owiny Primary School is sh234, 321,743.

Come November 3, Uganda will be the world’s focus center as it experiences a total eclipse. Uganda lies on the path of a Hhybrid Solar Eclipse.

The eclipse is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the surface of the Earth. The sky takes on an eerie twilight as the Sun’s bright face is replaced by the black disk of the Moon. Surrounding the Moon is a beautiful gossamer halo.

Government anticipates a stream of international and local tourists to flood Pakwach to watch the eclipse unfolding.

International tour companies have already started mobilizing tourists to come to Uganda to witness the event.

One of these companies, Gorilla Tours and Safaris, said, “It is considered to be one of the most awe inspiring spectacles in all of nature which is worth traveling to go see.  ”

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SOURCE:New Vision

Funding to the tourism sector has reduced over the last three years, yet the sector could be Uganda’s leading forex earner. David Mugabe investigates where Uganda is going wrong.

Uganda is sitting on a gold mine. It is not gold, it is not even the confirmed 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil. It is tourism. The numbers  affirm and tell an even better story. Tourism earnings jumped by 22% in 2011 with the country raking in $832 million, up from $662 million  in 2010.

This is almost double the $449 million that the country earned from coffee, Uganda’s top foeign exchange earner for decades. For three years  now, Uganda has been at the helm of global acclaim and recognition for its abundant tourism blessings.

Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda has 30% of the continent’s biodiversity. But something is wrong with this picture. With all the  blessing very little has been done to monetise the opportunities. It is puzzling that for years no progressive marketing budget exists.  Top  Ministry of Finance officials usually explain this away saying investing in infrastructure is enough support to the industry.

A few incidental events in recent history like the sporting exploits of Stephen Kiprotich (double gold medallist in the Olympic marathon and World Athletics marathon) and positive mentions by the National Geographic, CNN and Lonely Planet have seen the country sometimes referred to as a blank slate thrust in the global spotlight.

Tourism has one of the largest impacts on the economy, with a single dollar spend resulting  into foreign exchange earnings, employment, tax and direct investment.

Tourism attractions

The way Rwanda advertises mountain gorillas, one cannot realise that majority of them are in Uganda

Uganda has 30% of Africa’s biodiversity. Places such as Kidepo National Park are just being wholesomely discovered.

“That alone is a wealth  that no country can compete with in Africa. People are getting more interested in nature-based tourism because many countries have destroyed  their nature,” says seasoned tourism investor and promoter Amos Wekesa. Uganda is endowed uniquely with some attractions only found here.

These include the Source of the River Nile, habitat to more than half of the surviving mountain gorillas and the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountain.

There are 23 national parks and game reserves (10 national parks and 13 game reserves). These include the Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi  Impenetrable, Kibaale, Murchison Falls and Kidepo National Parks, which are supporting six other national game reserves.

A tourist who has visited the much promoted Kruger National Park in South Africa and then Queen Elizabeth in Uganda will be amazed with the  ease with which they come across the big five (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard) in Uganda compared to the kilometres one treks before they chance on one in South Africa.

Tourism value chain and GDP

To measure the impact of tourism on people and GDP (explained as a measure of the total sum of all the economic activities in a country) analysts refer to the value chain of people and activities and the trickle-down effect. The unique attribute for tourism is that if $100m  enters the country, no three people can conspire to keep the money among themselves.

In the case of oil, three people can decide to hang onto it and the rest will not benefit. For every 10 tourists, one permanent job is created, according to the United Nations global tourism agency. In the less developed countries, one tourism employee supports about seven people, another indication of its great impact. When a tour agent receives bookings money, he shares it with the different service  providers.

It is estimated that four people travelling from London to Uganda will spend not less than $16,000 on ground handling at Entebbe Airport and  $50 on a cab to Kampala (benefiting both the driver and fuel station).

Tourism is a unique export that the consumers find in the country  of origin. Related sectors serving the industry, such as transport, create over 100,000 jobs. Almost 26% of Uganda’s overall export earnings are from tourism.

Regional comparison

Uganda spends only $330,000 to market its tourism

Kenya spends over $23m annually in marketing its tourism and this budget is set to go up by almost 50%. Because of well-targeted marketing, Kilimanjaro Airport hosts about four million arrivals a year (more than what Ugandan hosts overall). Kenya has 29 national parks and about 2.4 million guests visit them, while in Uganda, only about 60,000 visit the parks.

For community tourism, the Karamoja Manyattas, Mabira Forest and Budongo, which are good spots for canopy walks, are yet to be exploited to compete with the Masai lifestyle currently raking in millions of dollars.


Broken but quickly improving road network. The other is the lack of a grading system for hotels, which leaves little room for choice for the sophisticated traveller. Also, a lack of a functional modern training facility for the tour and travel industry has hampered investor  nterest. There is also lack of basic maps and proper signage.

What is the biggest missing link?

The biggest missing link is lack of marketing of the tourism abundance. “Unfortunately we have not positioned ourselves well,” says Wekesa.

A Kenyan editor with the Standard newspaper recounted recently the days when Uhuru Kenyatta (now Kenyan president) was a senior official in the Kenyan tourism sector.

Kenyatta left nothing to chance in ensuring there is a wholesome marketing package so much so that a whole group of media from Kenya would  accompany the marketing team to top tourism exhibitions such as the World Tourism Market in London. In these meetings, tourism Kenya  officials would have a marketing budget surplus, but year on, the arrival figures continue to swell.

Uganda receives about 300,000 guests annually visiting national parks and game reserves, of which 80,000 are foreigners. The figures would be bigger, according to analysts, if there is marketing and investment in the line facilities. “We have not marketed adventure tourism,  which is where the money really is,” said Wekesa.

Local tourism

An exodus of tourists from USA, Spain, Asia and South Africa are destined to  Kidepo Valley National Park in northeastern Uganda.

Until recent undertakings by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the promotion of local tourism has been wanting with packages mainly  focused to foreign travellers.

Tony Ofungi, a private tour operator, acknowledges that even private tour operators have not focused on creating domestic tourism handlers.

Wekesa advises that the value chain must also be well studied by the Government. “Between Entebbe and Kampala, there is nowhere to stop and buy crafts for instance, yet when people travel, their ability to spend is much higher.”


Kidepo Valley National Park:

After hours by road from Kampala, a tourist is surprised by the variety of animals, birds, reptiles and a panoramic wilderness. It is the  closest one can get of what nature was 100 years ago.

An exodus of tourists from USA, Spain, Asia and South Africa are destined to  Kidepo Valley National Park in northeastern Uganda.

“I am not surprised Kidepo was voted one of Africa’s leading national parks by the World Travel Award,” said the US ambassador to Uganda, Scot Dilisi. “My wife and I have been there twice in the short time I have been in Uganda and I would not mind going back.

A gem in the wilderness…….

The Ik tribe up on Mount Morungole treat you to their acapela, ballet and sell you artifacts

Asked what new attraction is in Kidepo, a long-term serving ranger, Phillip Akoromwe says: “The park skies are filled with birds in flight.” There is also the Ik tribe up on Mount Morungole. They treat you to their acapela, ballet and sell you artifacts.”

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) marketing manager Ingrid Nyankabwa says there are services for all classes of guests. “There is an airstrip  for guests who would like to have a bird’s view of Kidepo. There is Apoka Lodge for high end travellers and the UWA banda for the budget  guest.”

MPs call for more funding

MPs have expressed concern about the low funding of the tourism sector, although it is one of the leading foreign exchange earners for Uganda.

A report by the parliamentary committee on tourism said the sector is one of the primary growth drivers of the economy as defined in the National Development Plan, but little money is allocated to it.

“Over the last three years the budget of the Uganda Tourism Board was cut from sh2.05b in 2011/12 to sh1.42b in 2012/13 to sh1.4b in 2013/14. Compared to other countries in the East African Community in the marketing and promotion of tourism, Kenya spends $17m, Tanzania $10m and Rwanda $5m, while Uganda spends only $330,000,” noted Flavia Kabahenda, the chairperson of the committee.

Kabahenda was presenting a committee report on the ministerial policy statements and budget estimates for the financial year 2013/14 for the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.

The committee recommended that the Government makes a deliberate effort to market Uganda internationally by reviving the Uganda Airlines, branding missions abroad, securing airtime and space on international media and developing sports to compete internationally.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said: “We are sliding in this sector, yet it has the capacity to turn around the economic fortunes of this country. Yes, tourism can fuel this country’s economy. We need to find ways of funding this sector better.”

Kevina Taka, the tourism shadow minister, said it is a pity that the sector responsible for providing 10% of new jobs in the last financial year can have its budget slashed instead of increasing it.

“We cannot compete with our neighbours who have a better marketing strategies for their tourism sectors on account of better funding,” Taka said.

Rubirizi MP Cadet Benjamin said the way Rwanda advertises mountain gorillas in its foreign missions, one cannot realise that majority of the animals are in Uganda.

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