By Rogers Sunday in Kabarole
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has asked Ugandans to develop a spirit of tourism and adventure as one of the ways of promoting sustainable tourism.
Celebrating World Tourism Day at Boma grounds in Fort Portal on Friday, the president, in a speech read on his behalf by defense minister Muruli Mukasa, said tourism is an exciting activity that arouses interest in everyone because its entails exploring new frontiers.
The day was marked under the theme “Tourism and Water protecting our common future”
Museveni said Fort Portal has been projected as the tourism city in the Vision 2040 because the region is endowed with plenty of attractive geographical features, climate, forests and the people.
But he still challenged the people of the area to work hard towards fulfilling the benchmarks government has put in place which include infrastructure development.
“We should not look at the visitors only,” he said. “We should also look at ourselves here as potential and actual consumers of tourism in this country.
“It is only in that way that we can sustain the tourism potential that is so abundant in this region and support Fort Portal as a tourist city.”
According to Museveni, tourism is the major consumer of water and therefore the protection of water bodies is of great importance to the survival and growth of the tourism industry.
In his speech, the statesman stressed the need for local governments to improve accessibility and infrastructure to tourism sites and challenged entrepreneurs to involve the local population to solve the problem of unemployment.
The minister of tourism, Maria Mutagamba said her industry has grown by 23% despite global economic challenges.
On his part, the king of Toro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru appealed to the central government and the private sector to partner with his kingdom and invest in areas of ICT, tourism, agro processing, fish processing among others.
“Toro is the greatest tourism attraction in the country with a wide range of bird spices and the highest chimpanzee population in East Africa and I invite government and the private sector and other development partners to come and invest in Toro” appealed the youthful king.