A “huge ounce” of pressure was put in the tourism sector in Uganda, with a new board of governance coming in. The strategy seems to be paying off as the Board of Directors at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) have already made plans to make the sanctuary in Entebbe self-sustaining financially.
At the moment, more than half of its budget is catered for by the central government.
Incoming Chairperson, Flavia Rwabuhuro Kahabenda said recently, “We will battle to get 100% financial independence, pay the staff well to retain them and introduce new attractions.”
Kahabenda and her team were being sworn in by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities who touched on areas that can generate higher revenues.
“There are people out there looking for leisure. Complete the floating hotel and you will have droves of tourists coming here to see lions, elephants, birds and plants for a fee. Expect them to buy artifacts, pay accommodation bills, travel places and leave behind more than $2, 000 each for the three days spent here,” Prof. Kamuntu said.
He said UWEC’s potential has not been tapped to capacity and much needs to be done besides completion of the four-storey hotel under construction.
“Tourism is nature-based and UWEC has it all. Instead of weeping for more budgetary funding from the government, identify ways to generate resources and finish what your predecessors started in 2007. There are numerous organizations out there willing to foot the bills of your ventures on the 72 acres of land available here and boost visitation volumes from the current 250, 000,” he said.
James Musinguzi, the UWEC executive director, assured guests that the sanctuary’s land title has been processed and there should be no fear for grabbers.
He said. “We intend to introduce water sports and aggressively market the 283 animals and 250 different plants that are in this place. This is a must destination for bird watchers and animal lovers. UWEC is the closest you can get to an elephant, a cheetah, insects and reptiles.”