Uganda’s International, Regional Tourist Arrivals Increases as Govt’ Focuses on Product Development
Uganda continues to record a rise in the International tourist arrivals with the sector showing recovery of 59% according to the Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Col. (Rtd) Tom R. Butime.
Addressing stakeholders during the 1st Annual Tourism Development Programme Review Conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala on 20th September 2023, Hon.Butime said Full opening up of the economy both at home and international level created an opportunity for Uganda to position itself as a global tourism destination for many tourists.
‘’ The Tourism Development program, whose major aim is to increase Uganda’s attractiveness as a preferred tourist destination, put emphasis on recovery efforts such as ‘Explore Uganda’ to boost domestic tourism, provide support to tourism operators and communities around the country, development of new tourism products as well as rehabilitation of tourist sites. Further efforts were put into developing a wide variety of tourism products across the country to improve on the individual experience and customer satisfaction while visiting the country’’, said Butime.
Butime noted that tourists from the region tops the list as over 85% of the visitors to Uganda are from African countries especially our neighbors Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan, with overseas visitors mainly coming from Asia, Europe and America.
Of these visitors, over 95% were staying here for at least one night which shows significant increase.
Butime who hailed the Boards and the CEOs/Executive Directors and Principals of UTB, UWA, UWEC, UHTTI and UWRTI for executing their mandates and supporting the Ministry in improving Tourism within the country, also commended the Tourism Private Sector, led by UTA for always working with government and being the first line of contact with the tourists.
Uganda’s revenue from Tourism in 2022 increased to Ushs.2.7 trillion or USD 736 million, compared to only Ushs. 1.88 trillion In 2021.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Mrs. Doreen Katusiime noted that even with the emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, which heavily impacted the tourism industry, as of 2022, the industry continues to be a pillar for this country’s economy.
‘’The past year witnessed a significant upturn in the performance of Uganda’s tourism where over 800,000 tourist arrivals were recorded. We also registered noticeable increase in contribution to GDP, foreign exchange earnings, employment, and occupancy rates in the accommodation facilities. This reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel airlines, activities of restaurants and leisure industries, as well as the wider effects from investments, the supply chain and induced income,, said Katusiime.
Katusiime said the outlook for Uganda’s tourism sector in 2023 appears optimistic, thanks to the full reopening of key tourism source markets, including Europe, North America, Asia, China, Japan, and Africa.
She added that the recovery of the Tourism industry has been fuelled by the undertakings of the Government of Uganda, the exuberant Private Sector, the development partners and Civil Society Organizations, who continue the collaborative effort to develop and promote the industry.
Internal Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire who was the chief guest called for increased funding of the Tourism sector as a way of attracting tourists to the country and marketing Uganda as a top tourism destination.
The ministry and its stakeholders have also embarked on promoting domestic and inbound tourism by Rolling out “Explore Uganda brand” in the international markets through brand promotional campaigns, Expo participation, and brand training for Missions abroad. Increased domestic tourism promotion for increased domestic tourism visitors and revenue through POATE 2024, Promotion of key national days and events , 2024; regional cluster tourism promotion for 6 TDAs, showcasing Uganda’s business opportunities in 4 international MICE markets for international visibility; and having a diverse and improved tourism product ranges developed. To be achieved through collaboration with 12 Cities, LG and MDAs.