The Ministry of Tourism has not done enough to promote and market Uganda as a tourist destination within the East African Community (EAC), legislators have observed.
The MPs on the Committee of EAC affairs told the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Emphriam Kamuntu, that the Ministry has neglected the infrastructure in major tourist centres in the country, which has a negative bearing on tourism.
The Committee met the Minister on Wednesday 29 August 2018.
Hon. Noeline Kisembo Basemera (NRM, Kibaale district) said the road network in game parks is in a poor state.
“Some time back I visited Murchison falls but the conditions there seem to show that the tourism sector is not as important as the ministry says it is,” said Kisembo.
Hon. Catheline Ndamira (NRM, Kabale district) also said that the road to Kabale district which is home to Lake Bunyonyi is impassable.
“Let a tourist come to Kabale when it has rained, they will remain there until the ground dries up. To make matters worse, the telecommunication network is also very bad,” said Ndamira.
Hon. James Baba (NRM, Koboko) advised the ministry to construct hotels and lodges in tourist centres, saying that inadequate accommodation is a big hinderance to the tourism sector.
“Support Ugandans to be given concessions to build hotels in those national parks as a way of empowerment and solving the inadequate accommodation issues,” said Baba.
Hon. Nabilah Naggayi Sempala (FDC, Kampala district) called on the ministry to take advantage of some of the airlines to promote Uganda.
The Vice Chairperson of the Committee EAC Affairs, Hon. Agnes Ameede (NRM, Pallisa district) urged the Ministry to work with drivers of airport taxes in marketing Uganda’s tourist destinations.
“Move a step ahead to sensitize drivers who pick visitors from the airport about our tourist destinations. Whenever I pick taxis from Nairobi airport, I am surprised at how much drivers are well conversant with the history of their country and tourist destinations,” she said.
Minister Kamuntu said that the Ministry of Works and Transport has put the tourism roads on its priority list.
“These roads have already been submitted to the Ministry of Works and they will be worked on,” said Kamuntu.
He added that lack of a national airline has been a limitation to the tourism sector, adding that the ongoing efforts to revive the Uganda airlines will address some of the challenges.
“Aviation industry is so important in tourism. Airlines promote the interests for which they have been paid. Support us to revive a national airline as we talk to these international airlines,” said Kamuntu.
He however appealed for sufficient funding to the tourism sector saying that all the challenges are linked to lack of funding.
“Tourism is the fastest growing sector in the world and the economy and yet in Uganda, it receives only 0.01 percent of the national budget,” said Kamuntu.
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