Herbert Byaruhanga, the chairman of the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), has called on East African countries to work together to stamp out threats of terrorism engulfing the region if tourist arrivals are to stay up.
“A joint effort to fight terrorism is a better option. The leaders should work hand in hand to ensure that the whole region as a destination is safe,” he said.
The terrorist group al-Shabab has taken the war to Kenya, throwing grenades and bombs in hotels and executing people. This week al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the death of at least 50 people in Kenya. The attacks have raised a security alert over the region. At least half of the tourists that visit Uganda come through Kenya, according to official figures.
Byaruhanga aised operators to create memorable experiences for the tourists. He was speaking at a press conference held at the ministry of Tourism offices last week. The months of June to August are considered to be the high season for tourist arrivals.
Tourism contributed an estimated $834 million in 2012. At least Shs 5bn has been allocated to Uganda Tourism Board to promote the sector in the next financial year, which starts in July.
Boniface Byamukama, the chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), pointed out that government should work on the roads that lead to the tourist destinations.
“Government should focus on some of the tourism roads for the comfort of our clients,” he said. Gulu-Kidepo, Biso-Kyenjojo through Kagadi and Katunguru-Bwindi-Rubanda were pointed out as some of the priority tourism roads that need special consideration.
Byaruhanga also pointed out that VAT on accommodation, which was announced in the budget speech, would make the rooms even more expensive.
Source : The Observer