Uganda Tourism vs Funding from the Government

Report from the Uganda tourism minister Maria Mutagamba urged the new management of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to find other means of funding methods to promote the Perl of Africa as an attractive tourism destination.
The minister further noted that the new board comes at a time when government funding to the sector is low and hence insufficiently funded by the government. The budget for 2012/13 was reduced from sh2.0b to sh1.4b. Comparing the strategic plan funding requirement for 2012/13 of sh19.2b, the board has a funding gap of sh17b this year.

The speech was made during the swearing in of the new board at the UTB offices in Kampala. The minister advised the board to consider exploring the implementation of the tourism development levy provided for under the Uganda Tourism Act 2008.

“The delay in actualizing of the tourism development levy has made it difficult for the sector to rise alternative funding. Preliminary estimates show that $9m (about sh23b) could be raised annually from the levy,” Mutagamba noted. James Tumusiime, the new board chairman, promised that the board will do everything in its power to see that the mission achieved and improved in the Ugandan tourism industry is realized. In his speech, he further noted that the Ugandan tourism industry earns $800m (about sh2trilion) annually compared to $500m (about sh1.3trillion) from coffee despite the low level of funding to the sector.
Tumusiime also pledged to strengthen the human resource capacity of the board, strengthen linkages between UTB and its strategic partners and lobby the Government for increased funding.

Other board members who attended the ceremony include, Tom Wasswa, representing Civil Aviation Authority, Edith Kasajja, representing National Planning Authority, Lilly Ajarova, the executive director Chimpanzee Wildlife Conservation Trust at Ngamba Island and Ismail Sekandi, represents hoteliers.

Others present were, Amos Wekesa, representing Uganda tour operators, Roger Wamara, a sales manager Qatar Airways, Dr. Andrew Seguya, the executive director Uganda Wildlife Authority, Michael Aliyo, from board of trustees of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Vivian Lyazi, representing the tourism ministry and Cuthbert Baguma, the UTB executive director and secretary to the board.

Baguma said the board will focus on promoting tourism products and the development of a sustainable and competitive tourism sector.