By Andrew Masinde
The USAID/Uganda Tourism for Biodiversity Program will start a $10m dollars program which is aligned with the priorities of the governments of Uganda and U.S to improve tourism.
The program will support Uganda's national development plan and USAID's country development cooperation strategy.
This was revealed on Friday by Christopher Tiyo the program coordinator African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), while addressing Officials from different government entities who were on a three day tour of Kidepo Valley national park in Kabong district - Karamoja region in north eastern Uganda.
Tiyo said the program will build upon biodiversity conservation experience and will generate lessons that USAID/Uganda and other donors have supported.
“The program will foster Uganda's nature-based tourism to deliver and improved visitor experience and stewardship of natural resources necessary to sustain Uganda's economic development.
It is implemented by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), delivered through collaborative and effective partnerships with the Government of Uganda, the private sector, civil society organizations and local communities,” he said.
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He adds that it is designed to address threats to Uganda's biodiversity, “The program uses eco-tourism as a tool to provide communities opportunities to develop tourism businesses and services that will enhance communities' appreciation of Uganda's natural resources.
This will help them to protect critical ecosystems across Uganda's diverse landscape while promoting broader, sustainable economic development.
The program will also support Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forest Authority in the development and improvement of tourism products and services,” he added.
The overall goal of the four -year program is to leverage tourism to achieve sustainable biodiversity conservation and economic growth for Uganda.
The program targets five priority protected areas of Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, as well as Budongo and Kalinzu Forest Reserves.
Tiyo concluded that the program is expected to increase tourism revenue from tourism activities in the five focal protected areas, increase community and landowner benefits from biodiversity conservation.
Officials being briefed during their visit to Kidepo valley National Game Park
Picture by Andrew Masinde
Officials present were from; office of the President, the Prime Minister, KCCA, Tourism, Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), Media centre, Ministry of Education, Foreign affairs, Police, Bank of Uganda and Public service.
John Oyambi the Principal National officer from the Prime Minister’s office said the trip was aimed at enhancing Government departments to understand the wildlife industry and also appreciate the culture of the people surrounding the park who are the Iki and the Karamojong.
Linda Nabusayi the Deputy Press Secretary to the President said the trip was part of government’s efforts to see that tourism is promoted in Uganda since it brings in a lot of income.
"This trip is mainly to promote tourism in Uganda such that we get more tourists, so I congratulate all the officials for completing the trip and I advise all of you to go and market the game park, which will be the only way we shall get more money," she said.
The trip was organised by Uganda wildlife Authority, under the ministry of information and national guidance in the office of the prime minister.