Uganda safari sector should be well marketed in order to grow. Uganda was ranked number one tourist destination center since it has many tourism attractions by the lonely planet, a leading tourism magazine. The lack of funding to the Uganda safari sector has greatly led to under tapping of many tourism potentials many stakeholders lament.
In Uganda, the safari/tourism sector is ranked as the highest foreign exchange earner bringing $800m (sh2trillion) compared to coffee which brings in $500m (sh1.3trillion) in the Uganda.
Tourist spending in Uganda increased from $564m in 2009 to $662m in 2010 reflecting 14% increase as noted by the Uganda National budget framework2013/14.
The Uganda safaris sector received only10.9b or about 0.1% of the national budget 2012/2013. This amount was to cater for capacity building through training, administrative pay and policy and regulations as according to Alex Asiimwe, the principal policy analyst in the Uganda safari/ tourism industry.
More so, the fewer funds that are provided by the National Budget cannot favour most the functional works of the industry.
The strategic sector development plan indicated that the Uganda Tourism Board is faced with sh17b funding shortfall and this makes the implementation of Uganda tourism activities poor. Furthermore, lack of funds affects marketing and human skills in the Uganda safari sector as said by Asiimwe.
Uganda invests in marketing its tourism potentials more than the other East African countries, that’s to say Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda , and this means that there is a need to improve hotels, change mindsets of the local population and build capacity in order to improve safaris to Uganda.
The potential in the Uganda safari/tourism industry is high and can provide employment opportunities to the youth if extra efforts are put in developing it, says the Uganda Authority Spokesman Lillian Nsubuga.
In order to achieve this, the Government needs to take the highest lead in the marketing of Uganda as tourist safari destination. This will help in improving the tourist arrivals to all tourist destinations especially to National parks and the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.
Semanda said that there is a lot of reluctance in developing the Uganda tourism sector yet most of the ministries rotate around tourism, for example the Uganda tours industry had no idea about the Misabwa Island. More so, lack of a national airline is another challenge facing the industry and most of the hotels have been abandoned and used for other purposes.
Although the Government is working to improve tourism infrastructure, the poor roads delay movement hence leading to many Uganda safari tourist attractions unexplored.
The minister of Tourism, Maria Mutagamba said that the government will develop a frame work to train local people to engage in community tourism and also to develop the capacity
of the people to start using what they have locally to attract tourists. Sensitization of the locals can be one of the ways of achieving community based tourism in Uganda.
If all these are done as suggested, then the Uganda safari sector will grow fast as many tourists will come for several Uganda safaris hence trickling in more revenue and employment for the locals and the Uganda government at large.
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