Uganda's 2019 tourism in a flash
About 1.8million tourists and 1.35billion shillings in the bag. Many still believe tourism can fetch more, rightly so; these numbers have been steadily growing for the last years. Sadly many worry this could easily take a nose-dive if Government seizes to be deliberate about growing the industry.
Not that it hasn't, the effort is there for the naked eye to see with ministers joining campaigns and the tourism board cheering on, but we can do better.
Last year saw Ugandal fy her flag high especially in the Athletics realms. After winning a golden medal, athlete, Joshua Cheptegei, emerged as the Athlete if the year. Did we salvage that win, maybe not enough. But as a country, our strategy has always been football, and the national team, Uganda Cranes, receives more than many sports sections could say, albeit little. While they try their best, that particular ship sails off quick.
We saw the tourism board not only pitch camp in Egypt, but also inject in about 200 million amid seeking visibility. Did it work, we'll see. Soon they were on their way to the gulf region to market destination Uganda. Good move, but did it work? That too will be seen. The latest is a partnering with Uganda Airlines, maybe that will bring in the tourists eventually.
Efforts to get the local populace interested in their own tourism we think have been the most fruitful. The travel month deals are nothing short of amazing, and October will see busloads of Ugandans now visiting these places. The catch here was price and therefore affirmed the notion that price is why Ugandans don't travel, other factors constant.
It was therefore shocking to see that a country that claims to be pushing for tourism would be trying to tear down one of their biggest attractions, Murchison falls. First we thought the idea had been thrown off the table, then as the year folded, it again emerged, albeit even more sinister. They said it was Uhuru falls and not Murchison that was the goal, clearly not true. Going for one would be going for the other; they are twin falls.
This came just after we lost Budongo forest to a sugarcane grower. Never mind that even if it was putting up fences to protect wild animals in Queen Elizabeth, it was out here in Murchison falls and Budongo forests distabilizing nature. Shall we see this impunity end this year?