Uganda’s economy has in recent years performed much better and is expected to be stable, thanks to tourism industry.
As a proof, a data by Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities’ yearly tourism sector performance report for fiscal year 2016/2017, shows that tourism was country’s foreign earner, bringing in United States Dollars (US$1.4billion).
The report further revels that the revenue made 4.3% of GDP and 26% of exports.
Also, in 2018/2019 fiscal year, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.8 million foreign tourists in 2018, up from 1.4million in 2017.
In 2017, the 1.4 million arrivals contributed nearly $1.4 billion into the economy. This contributed to about 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With government expecting more arrivals of about two million tourists this fiscal year (2019/2020), who are the key players in the tourism industry, and why must their businesses businesses be protected?
On Tuesday, TND News had some times with Josephine Alwato – the Tour Consultant with Akita Wild Tours & Travel, and below are precise discourses.
Qtn. What is basically your tour company focusing on?
Ans. We are a travel company handling both national (local) and international tourists.
Qtn. You’re talking about local tourists, in terms of numbers, how many local tourists have you handled over the years, viz-a-viz to internationals?
Ans. Local tourist (tourism) is not easy. We have to sensitize local people first to love their country. Most of the people we get are foreigners. We have although handled school (student) tourists because their parents and schools are willing to pay for their trips.
Additionally, getting foreign tourists is easy although some book a trip of 2020 in 2019 and can cancel it.
Qtn. Recently, government came out with a proposal to offer part of Murchison Falls to foreign investor to build a dam. You and other tour companies came out and protested, how will this affect your business?
Ans. Government should help us promote tourism than killing its features. The problem is that government has started constructing roads inside Murchison National Game Park. The falls alone is giving a lot of money to government where foreigners come just to see its exquisiteness.
They are making bridges to accommodate big trucks inside the national parks. Most of the baboons are getting scared, and out of the road because of the presence of heavy trucks, digging the roads within their territory.
Before, the baboons were quite many by the road side and would attract and amaze tourists.
Qtn. As a new tour company, what challenges are annoying?
Ans. We are facing competition from already well-built tour companies; we [Akita Tours & Travel] have to embark on massive marketing and advertising.
Secondly, government should help us promote both local and international tourists than killing it.
Qtn. Any plan for the next five years or less?
Ans. We want to handle more tourists and becoming the leading tour company in Uganda and East Africa.
Importantly, we are in the process of building Laura Eco-Tourism Park in West Nile. This was the initiative of the area community but because their limited capacities, we have to come-in; and their will benefit a lot.
The objectives of Laura Eco-Tourism Park are many, key among them includes; create attractive Eco-tourism business opportunities for Uganda.
Secondly, to provide fully-fledged social facilities imbued with international cultural exchange and educational centre, and lastly, to promote Uganda as a gateway to East Africa with best tourism destined facilities.
Qtn. At Laura Eco-Tourism Park, what facilities and or services do we expect?
Ans. Under residential and accommodation development, we shall have holiday homes and resort homes. Under entertainment, hospitality and commercial centres, we shall have conference facilities, convenience shopping mall, recreation areas and entertainment facilities.
Others include height walks, glass bridges, bird watching, nature trails, spa, gym and many others.
Qtn. Tell the world your overall goal
Ans. The overarching objectives for Akita are environmental and climate support within sustainable development. That’s; a better environment, use of natural resources. Our focus areas are: responsible forest and natural resources management and basic sanitation; use of sustainable energy sources, and ultimately a sustainable urban infrastructure development