By Donald Kiirya & Paul Kiwuuwa
As Busoga region still runs the campaign to promote its tourism potential, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has wooed foreign investors to the region to boost development and economy at large.
Kadaga made the remarks while leading the Turkish ambassador in Uganda, Sedef Yuvuzalp and two Turkish investors in touring Busoga’s tourist sites located in various districts found in the region.
The Turkish ambassador to Uganda, Sedef Yavuzalp (4th L) and the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (M) enjoying a dance presented by Kagulu Hill women traditional dancing group on Sunday during a tour of Busoga's Tourism sites.
They were accompanied by Johnson Agara Olwa, Uganda’s ambassador to Turkey.
The Turkish investors included Erdal Aliska, the regional manager of PETOIL and Vakur Yilmazyigit, a foreign trade manager of Pref-Pre Engineering Camp site Bridging Company who came to visit Busoga’s tourist sites and see how best they can develop them for the benefit of the region and Uganda.
“Since I am the patron of Busoga Tourism Initiative (BTI) and chairperson of the Busoga Parliamentary Group that is marketing Busoga as a tourism hub, I brought the Turkish ambassador and these two investors to look at some of our tourism sites and identify where they can develop for the benefit of locals through promotion of community tourism,” Kadaga said.
She requested the investors through the Turkish ambassador in Uganda to revive tourism in Busoga by rehabilitating all tourism sites in the region like establishing cables cars at Kagulu hill site which locals and tourists can use.
MP Sulaiman Balyejjusa (R) handing over a traditional pot to Turkish ambassador in Uganda Sedef Yavuzalp (L) as the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (2nd L) looks on while at Kagulu Hill tourist site
“Investors can also establish modern accommodation, eating and market facilities at tourist sites for example at Bishop James Hannington Memorial site in Kyando where pilgrims visit every October in large numbers,” Kadaga added.
They visited sites like Kagulu Hill a historical site, where Prince Mukama Namutukula, said to be the founding father of Busoga, settled on arrival from Bunyoro, across Lake Kyoga.
The hill is approximately 3,500ft above sea level, with a five kilometre radius
The other sites were Bukaleeba peninsula and Kyando, both located in Bukatube sub-county, Mayuge district. Bukaleeba has a forest reserve covering four villages, while Kyando is the spot where Bishop James Hannington was reportedly killed.
Bishop Hannington came to Uganda under the Church Missionary Society before meeting his death on October 29, 1885.
They visited the Source of the Nile and the Palace of Prince William Gabula Nadiope IV at Budumbula village in Kamuli district.
Kadaga said government will also start developing the sites into attractive tourist spots with a mechanism for protection of the visitors.
Kagulu Hill tourist site in Buyende district.
“Government is planning to connect electricity to all these tourist sites and also improve the infrastructure like roads that lead to the sites,” Kadaga said.
Edward Balidawa Kafufu, the chairperson of the Busoga Tourism Initiative (BTI) asked government through the Ministry of Tourism to plan for the sites so that they can attract the rich tourists.
He said “despite its immense potential, today people visit Kagulu only for adventure. It should be turned into a source of income.”
Deborah Misanya, a resident of Kyando village in Mayuge district requested their leaders to continue lobbying government to develop the sites.
“As government plans to develop the sites I am going to mobilize my fellow women at the village into a group and we start on the business of making crafts like baskets and other unique staffs that tourists will be attracted to and buy,” Misanya said adding that this will increase on their household incomes.
Jennipher Nakanda from Kyando also said this is going to be an opportunity for locals to sell their food crops like fruits to tourists who will visit the sites.
Aliska, one of the Turkish investors was impressed with the tourist sites he saw with his counterpart adding that he intends to invest in Uganda because it has got a good conducive environment.
He said that they had seen the sites and will go back and plan to what kind of investments they will establish around them adding that it will also contribute to the development of the region and economy at large especially in tourism hence increasing the revenue base in the country.