Uganda tourism industry faces underfunding which remains the biggest hitch despite an increase in the annual gross growth of 15% according to Uganda Travel Bureau (UTB).
While, after years of underfunding (sh500m), the government in 2009/ 10 FY upped tourism budget to sh2b, this UTB says is too small, with sh22b needed to rival Kenya, one of Africa’s tourism hub.
Due to low funding, four cultural and historical sites in West Nile and many others in the country which would attract more tourists aren’t developed.
Areas like Fort Dufile of Emin Pasha in Moyo which is strategically located on River Nile and Gordon Hill in South Sudan, when developed, tourists will visit and people will benefit.
Most Ugandans don’t visit the many tourism sites although there are incentives like low costs. UTB executive director Cuthbert Baguma makes an appeal to Ugandans to embrace their country by visiting the many tourist sites in their midst.
“If foreigners can come all the way from Europe and Asia to appreciate our country, why not us?” says Baguma.
Poaching is another setback to the industry. At least three elephants are killed in Uganda annually, says John Makombo, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) deputy director in charge of field operations.
Tourists at the moment come on Uganda safaris to experience mountain gorilla trekking, game viewing, birding safaris, chimpanzee tracking tours, cultural tours etc.
Tourism in Uganda has successfully improved and developed but it is still facing some challenges which have greatly affected the safaris tours with in the country. These challenges include; Limited marketing due to insufficient funding is a serious problem facing the tourism industry and it has retarded many people internationally to know Uganda as a tourist destination hence affecting safaris to Uganda.
High competition from neighbouring countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. These countries are selling the same products like Uganda and this has affected Uganda’s tourism sector since it’s considered a landlocked country and most tourists go to the neighbouring for safaris.
Poor service delivery, particularly in hotels, has greatly affected the tourism industry in Uganda. This comes about as a result of poor handling of the visitors when they come here for their safaris. This is brought about by the unskilled workers that are employed in hotels most especially the lodges in tourist’s destinations.
Tours and travel have been cited as some of the key challenges holding back the once vibrant industry. Some tour and travel companies are not viable at operating the industry and so this has affected the industry since such tour companies aren’t reliable to their operations of the safaris in Uganda.
Lack of a national carrier, high airfares and inadequate physical infrastructure for internal flight connections; have further dealt a blow to the sector. This has affected the industry since most of the clients are always delayed because of the problems of the connections since Entebbe international Airport doesn’t handle direct flights.
East African aviation statistics show that unlike her neighbours like Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania that allocates $23 million, $10 million and $5 million in tourism marketing, Uganda invests only $300,000.This has affected the marketing of Uganda as a tourist destination.
Uganda Safaris/ Uganda Safari News