By Titus Kakembo
THE tourism fraternity is in honeymoon mood after Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) liaised to make Uganda the tourism Mecca of Africa.
This was revealed during a cocktail celebrating the launch a Strategic Plan 2014-2019 at Serena Hotel Kampala which comes at a time when the tourist arrivals logged by 2010 were; Kenya 1470,000, Tanzania 754,000 and Uganda 946,000.
These figures have changed lately, following cancelations of bookings in Kenya after a spate of terrorism attacks and threats there.
“We are pleased to have partnered with UTA to develop a five year strategic plan as a road map for greater coordination and engagement in the sector,” said the UNDP Country Director Almaz Gebru.
“We expect that as you embark on implementing it, you will use it as a basis for decision making on priorities and actions required to accelerate tourism.”
“And its contribution to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental preservation,” stressed Gebru.
UTB CEO Steven Asimwe (L) and Rwanda High Commisioner Daniel Mutentare compare notes. Photo by Titus Kakembo
The minister of tourism Maria Mutagamba representing the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi in speculating that if Uganda is to achieve the MDG, Uganda biggest export, tourism cannot be ignored.
“The contribution of tourism to the economic development of Uganda is well accentuated in Uganda Vision 2040,” said Mutagamba.
“This cannot be achieved without the private sector. This plan will enable government to support UTA and have it implemented.”
UTA president Herbert Byaruhanga expressed his dedication to cooperate and coordinate the entire industry.
“The relationship between UTB, UTA, Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Uganda Bird Guides Association and Uganda Tour Drivers Association has never blossomed like it is today,” said Byaruhanga.
“The challenge is on us to identify the key strategic issues and propose strategies.”
UTA is the umbrella body which brings together all those mentioned including Uganda Travel Agent Association and Uganda Community Tourism Association.