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Tourism Minister urges private sector players to get licensed for internationally acceptable standards.


Rtd. Colonel Tom Butiime the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities has urged private sector players in the tourism industry to register and get licensed for acceptable international standards as this will enable destination Uganda to not only adhere to global standards but also keep the visitors safe.

“As we prepare for the growing of tourists numbers in the country, we need to be mindful of the standards of facilities and type of service we offer to our guests.” Butiime highlighted.

The Minister made these remarks at the 2023 edition of the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo held in Kampala Uganda.

According to the 2023 Uganda Tourist Satellite Account statistics, the tourism sector accounts for 19.3% of arrivals for holidays, recreation, and leisure, 40.9% for business tourism, 28.2% for visiting friends and relatives, and 11.6% for other reasons.

The Minister also implored the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to continue enforcing regulations and standards in the sector to ensure compliance with the set standards as this will help to keep the visitors satisfied with the tourism offerings and facilities while in the country.

“UTB should work closely with the private sector and the Uganda Hotel Training Institute to skill the workforce in the tourism sector because a well-trained and skilled workforce will deliver good services that will market our country well”. He asserted.

On the issue of the refurbishment of regional airports in close proximity to National Parks, the Minister noted that the sector has already received the government’s commitment to this, and if this directive is implemented, tourists will be able to land at the attractions in private jets hence avoid landing at Entebbe airport.

Hon. Daudi Migereko the chairman of UTB noted that the fact that Uganda has been highly rated as an attractive destination, we must work harder to market the country and do all that it takes to attract tourists.

“Government guided us to focus on the four priority intervention areas that include site and product improvement, tourism infrastructure improvement, putting in place requisite ICT capacity and supporting regional approach by marketing East Africa if we are to achieve the goal of more tourists attractions” Migereko highlighted.

In her remarks, Lilly Ajarova the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board noted that this expo has now grown to become a signature event for Uganda’s tourism and a global event that will shine a light on the country’s tourism sector and she invited both the public and private sector stakeholders to consider supporting UTB to explore destination Uganda through this expo.

“I hope that all agencies and co-operations whose functions intertwine with UTB allocate sufficient budgets to support the activities of the coming expo of 2024” Ajarova articulated.

The Tourism Expo is a gathering of minds in the tourism value chain to ponder on the benefits of tourism and to also assess the position and readiness as a destination, region, and as continent.

Elsie Attafuah the resident representative of UNDP emphasized using tourism to build community ownership and stewardship as this will help to optimize the very many opportunities that lie before us.

“Building the ownership that allows communities to feel part plus empowering local governments and cultural institutions to optimize these untapped opportunities is very important and should be prioritized,” Attafuah noted.

Tourism remains one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda that contributes to over 1 billion USD dollars in foreign exchange and accounting for over 7% of the country’s GDP.

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