Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa East Member of Parliament has warned government to minimize criminality ahead of the 2021 elections if tourism is to flourish.
He said criminality would scare away tourists, yet the sector is Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earner.
“Our government has become insensitive to tourism. You do not need to start throwing tear gas everywhere, arresting people for no good reason, have soldiers roam the country with gunsand expect to interest tourists. Actually they look at us as if we are a country at war. Those things do not encourage tourism,” Niwagaba, also Shadow Attorney General, told the press on Wednesday shortly after attending the Kabale District budget conference.
“Actually that’s why I implore that we need to be civil. We need to be democratic; if you choose to be authoritarian you cannot be democratic. And at the end of the day, it is us who lose as Ugandans. If we do things in a civil manner, it helps each and everybody.”
As a way of Kabale district boosting its local revenue, Niwagaba advised the district to embrace tourism, saying there are a lot of tourist attractions, which are better than those in Europe and America that would earn the district a lot of local revenue.
It was reported by the Kabale Chief Finance Officer that the district collected only Shs231 million in local revenue.
Tourism continues to be the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda generating US$1.45 billion foreign exchange earnings in 2017 compared to USD 1.37 billion in 2016.
Uganda was last year described as the friendliest country globally following a survey that was conducted among expatriates globally, according to the BBC.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda received 1.8 million tourists in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 2017. The number is expected to increase to 4 million by 2020.
In 2017, the 1.4 million arrivals injected about $1.4billion into the economy. This contributed to about 10 percent of the GDP.
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