In Summary

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities sector, being a labour intensive industry, tourism employs directly 247,000 people and provides employment for an additional 345,000 indirectly

Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Tourism Day amid calls for promotion of universal tourism.

Ms Emma Nahayo Mugizi, the public relations officer at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, says the national day celebrations will be at Kakyeka Stadium in Mbarara District.

The theme; “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility,” is a wakeup call for the government to include programmes that cater for people with disability.

Ms Mugizi says there will be a marathon as part of the activities to celebrate the day but most importantly, to help raise funds to construct a school for people with disability in Mbarara.

“According to the World Tourism Organisation recent statistics, there were 1,184 billion arrivals of international tourists in the world, a number which is projected to reach 2 billion by 2030,” Ms Nahayo adds.

She says because of its importance, tourism is not only an opportunity but a right of every person that should not be limited to certain social class or specific geographic areas.
The tourism sector is recognised in the National Development Plan 11 and Vision 2040 as one of the fastest growing service sectors of the economy and a major foreign exchange earner.
Mr Vincent Mugaba, the head of public relations at the Uganda Tourism Board, says the sector has a potential to grow and greatly contribute to the country’s economy.

He adds that despite limited strategic planning and investment, support and inadequate mainstreaming of tourism in major government activities, the sector has continued to grow and contribute to national development.

“In spite of limited support, the tourism sector is making a significant contribution to the economy through increased export earnings, employment opportunities among others,” Mr Mugaba says.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities sector, being a labour intensive industry, tourism employs directly 247,000 people and provides employment for an additional 345,000 indirectly.

The 2015 sector statistical report indicates that 1,266,046 tourists were registered in 2014 indicating a 4.9 per cent increase from 1,206,334, the number of tourists from Africa increased by 5.6 per cent over 2013 and the European tourists increased by 13.2 per cent over 2013, 202,885 visitors were received at the National Parks (NPs) in 2014 indicating a decline of 5.2 per cent over 2013.

The foreign non-residents dominated the visitor ship to NPs for 2014 with 44.1 per cent followed by East African residents at 24.4 per cent.

The report further indicates that of the 112,177 visitors at the Uganda Museum, majority came for study visits followed by adventure, sports, cultural village and music.

Jbahingwire@ug.nationmedia.com