STATEMENT ON THE TOURISM SECTOR REVIEW 2018
Tourism is an important sector of Uganda’s economy and is currently Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner with US$1.45 billion in 2017, followed by remittances from Ugandans abroad at about US$1.2 billion. In addition to generating foreign exchange earnings and creating jobs, tourism promotes trade and investment and significantly contributes to the development of other sectors of the economy, such as construction, manufacturing, retail and financial services. Tourism is increasingly becoming a key source of livelihood and pride, helping to support families and local economies, and to build communities throughout the Country.
Over the past 10 years, the tourist arrivals into Uganda have steadily increased from 850,000 in 2008 to over 1.4 million arrivals in 2017, and most of tourists (56%) fell within the 20 - 39 age-category with an opportunity of future repeat visits. The leisure component of our visitors has increased from 18% in 2016 to 20% in 2017. It is important to receive more leisure tourists because they spend more. An average international leisure tourist to Uganda spends US$ 1,209 (excluding air transport fares) compared to other categories.
SECTOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN FY 2017/18
Policies, Regulations and Governance
To enhance order, Government took more steps in FY 2017/18 to improve Tourism Sector governance by creating Tourism as a fully-fl edged standalone sector. Continuous efforts were made towards strengthening the legal framework for wildlife conservation in Uganda through the revision of the Uganda Wildlife Act 2000. The Uganda Wildlife Bill 2017 is currently awaiting enactment by Parliament. The Bill proposes higher penalties for wildlife crimes like poaching and illegal wildlife trade, addresses human wildlife conflict issues, enhances community participation in conservation and harmonizes conservation with other sectors of the economy. The Bill once enacted will among others, ensure that Uganda is no longer used as a source or transit for illegal trade in wildlife species and specimens.
To strengthen the promotion and sustainable utilization of cultural heritage resources, Principles of the Museums and Monuments Bill were approved by Cabinet and submitted to First Parliamentary Counsel for drafting. Once enacted, the new Bill will repeal the Historical Monuments Act 1967.
In an effort to minimize the negative impacts of petroleum, hydro power, minerals and other developments, environmental sensitivity atlases for some protected areas have been developed and inspections were conducted on restoration of both exploration and production oil wells in Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) and Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve.
Availability of tourism statistics in a timely manner is vital for all stakeholders and various steps have been undertaken to have immigration data captured electronically at points of arrival such as Entebbe International Airport and border posts. This has been a long awaited for achievement as the sector will be able to process and disseminate tourist arrivals data on a monthly basis and with improved levels of accuracy.
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