KAMPALA, July 23 — Members of Uganda’s Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry have appealed to the government to increase the budget for tourism promotion to match the competition in the regional and international markets.
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe and the agency’s head of marketing, Edwin Muzahura, had told the MPs that Uganda was lagging others in the region as far as investing in the tourism sector was concerned.
“Whereas in this financial year Kenya has allocated 35 million US dollars and Rwanda 17 million USD on promoting tourism in their countries, Uganda has allocated only 700,000 USD,” Muzahura told the committee.
Asiimwe said since Uganda had signed a tripartite agreement with Kenya and Rwanda to jointly market their countries as tourism destinations, Uganda needed to raise its budget to the tripartite level.
Justifying the need for more money, the UTB officials gave the example of Malawi whose tourist numbers increased four times when the budget for tourism promotion was increased to 10 million USD.
Asiimwe, however, commended the government for increasing the budget for the Tourism Board whose leadership he assumed in February. “The Government has increased the UTB budget from 350,000 USD to 2.0 million USD. This is an increment of almost five times. This is very commendable,” he explained.
The woman MP for Lyantonde, Grace Namara, who is also the vice-chairperson of the committee, said: “Increasing money for tourism promotion is a commitment which government has to do. You cannot milk a cow which you don’t feed.”
SOURCE: NEW VISION