Uganda tourism to grow exponentially by 2026

Published on : Thursday, June 9, 2016

UgandaAccording to a recent global assessment, Ugandan tourism looks set for an exponential growth with a bit more investment in the sector. However, industry players say the government must do more to harness its natural resources if Uganda is to become a regional leader.

In its March 2016 report on the economic impact of the sector, the World Tourism and Travel Council estimates that the contribution to Uganda’s GDP will grow by 6.4 per cent by 2026. Contribution to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 7.8 per cent of total employment in 2015 (1,173,000 jobs). This is expected to rise by 3.5 per cent per annum by 2026.

Foreign tourist inflows, revenue and employment opportunities are projected to grow significantly between now and 2026, according to a global assessment.

Stephen Asiimwe, the chief executive officer of Uganda Tourism Board, is most upbeat about the sector’s prospects.

“This has been a wonderful year for us. Actually from around end of last year after the visit of the Barcelona legends, there are positives,” said Asiimwe, referring to former footballers of the world-famous football club.

UTB spent about 70,000 Euros to host the stars who jetted in last year to promote sports tourism. They have since been followed by another football club from Spain, with more dividends expected from that visit.

The number of leisure tourists from Uganda’s main market of Europe and the United States has dropped slightly lately. Asiimwe blames this on the fragile security situation in the region, terror threats from the al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia and the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. Also, Uganda’s case wasn’t helped by the rise of the US dollar against the euro.

The firms, PHG consulting (USA), Kamageo (UK) and KPRN (Germany) have been hired for $1.5m to market Uganda in their respective markets.

In 2013, National Geographic named Uganda among the world’s top 20 destinations for tourists. CNN also ranked Uganda’s Kidepo Valley national park among Africa’s top 10 tourist destinations.

The number of tourists visiting Uganda has been growing since 2007, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Figures from the Wildlife ministry show that national parks are the top attraction, with Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls in the lead.


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