East African country Uganda has a mountain to climb should the landlocked nation actualize and realize its dream in economic development. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Ms. Rose Malango has implored the government of Uganda to raise its stocks to meet its economic objective.
She challenged the tourism sector to aim at reaching a target of 10 million tourists by 2030. According to the State Tourism Minister Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi in a statement published in October this year, the Uganda Government had set a target to attract 4 million tourists by 2020. The increase of both domestic and foreign tourists should translate to more revenue and expansion of the sector as well.
She stressed the need to market the tourism sector locally as domestic tourist earnings are not encouraging. The industry has focused on the international tourism market which has massive potential for business investment opportunities and when harnessed can be a source of big returns.
Uganda’s tourism won large publicity and interest in the United Kingdom top media leading to inquiries in the destination at the World Travel Market (WTM) expo in London, one of the world’s largest tourism trade expos in 2016. Since then, the country has concentrated on the international market.
The country’s latest marketing strategy is to deploy at least three PR firms in China, Japan, and the Gulf States, taking the tally to six. Prof Ephraim Kamuntu the tourism minister revealed that “About 130 million Chinese go out as tourists so what if we got 1 percent coming here?”
The Economist records that Uganda boasts of 11 percent of the world’s bird species and 54 percent of all mountain gorillas. Tourist arrivals in Uganda increased to 1449 thousand in 2017 from 1323 thousand in 2016, reports trading economics. Tourism is Uganda’s largest foreign exchange earner, despite the country being an agricultural based nation.
The sector needs more investment to create employment opportunities for the youth and curb the poverty level in the country.