KAMPALA: President Museveni has appealed to tourists, world over, to look beyond the press reports depicting Africa as a continent ever in crisis because it is not one country as usually portrayed.
The President speaking today at the opening of the 39th World Congress of Africa Travel Association (UTA) in Kampala, said “if birds in the Northern Hemisphere are always on the move to discover new places why not people especially in this information age”
“Africa is a very huge and diverse land mass of over 30 million square kilometers (km2), so what happens in one country does affect another.”
However, “every time I travel am surprised about the kind of things being said about one country in a way to mean as if the entire continent is being affected.”
The 5 days conference brings together delegates from several countries from all countries around the world in government and private sector to promote global tourism.
Mr Museveni observed that peace is prevailing in most parts of Africa adding that pockets of conflict and strange diseases cannot severely affect the tourism industry.
“Take for example Ebola is a problem in West Africa because they did not know how to respond to it. In Uganda here we are experienced having had two major outbreaks, and in Africa we have a problem of not sharing knowledge.”
He, further, pointed out some major challenges like infrastructure, poor promotion of tourism, poor conservation, that the continent is still facing but said these will be addressed with time.
The government seized opportunity of the annual conference with the theme “Tourism is Everyone’s Business’ to counteract the bad publicity that the country had experienced in recent times exacerbated by the passing of Anti-Homosexuality Law, which later struck down by Court.
The conference also brings together local and international tour operators under their umbrella-ATA. The organisation was founded in 1975 and is based in New York, United States of Africa to sell Africa to North America and the outside world.
The President of ATA, Uganda Chapter, Susan Muhwezi, commended the agenda of the conference and urged both local and international media, to portray Africa positively.
“All stakeholders have a stake in propelling tourism for world economy.”
President Museveni also revealed government’s plans to develop its faith-based tourism-from the Namungongo Martyrs’ shrine and other sites.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor