In March this year, following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the government of Uganda suspended operations of various sectors including the tourism industry as one way of reducing the spread of the novel virus which has since brought the whole world on its knees.
After a period of six months, President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday during his state of the nation address on covid-19 ordered for the reopening of borderlines, Entebbe International Airport in order to enable smooth operations of the tourism sector in the country.
The tourism sector in Uganda has consistently been growing and promising and according to the Annual Tourism Sector Performance Report for the financial year of 2018/2019, Uganda earned shs5.8 trillion from tourism, making the sector the country’s leading foreign currency earner, this has been happening for over the past five financial years.
The report also showed that the sector contributed 7.7 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 6.7 per cent of total national employment after creating 667,600 jobs.
However, in the time when the sector has been completely hit by effects of covid-19, much investment needed from government to revamp the industry.
According to state minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, the sector, at the start needs at least Shs30bn to start crawling back to the original speed of the progress it was thriving on before the pandemic outbreak.
Kiwanda says injecting a lot of money in advertising minus putting money to help refurbish tourist attractions, it will create no different because places also need renovations to appear worth.
“We asked for over Shs30bn, purposely this money is going to help the owners of these places to renovate them, we are not going to give out this money for free but it will be with low interests and in long term payments purposely to boast their work so that they can cope up with the existing status quo,” he said.
“If we don’t renovate these places even if we advertise tourism it will be very hard for us to penetrate back as long as these people come here and find places where they have to sleep are not well refurbished and not pleasing. We need to renovate these places because the time they have spent not in service need renovation if we are really serious with our tourism industry,” Kiwanda added.
Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) has already received Shs600m to start refurbishing the place.
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