uganda safari at the equator

What is Killing Uganda’s tourism potential?

Located in East Africa, Uganda the pearl of Africa is blessed with diverse natural and ,manmade resources which include mountains, forests, different vegetation types, cultural and historical sites diverse cultures and sub cultural groups, it is also a home for half of the rare endangered mountain gorillas located in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahiga national park south western Uganda and many other animal such as elephants, lions, buffalos, rhinos, monkeys, baboons and different bird species for the birders, the pearl Africa borders Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and south Sudan .

However, despite of the interesting tourism features in Uganda, the country has not realized its targeted proceeds from tourism for the several years past compared to its neighboring countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and recently Rwanda whom they share borders . The total tourism receipts for example in 2014 fell from shs56b to shs42.6b which is 24% of the total revenues collected, this was according to the Uganda wild life authority’s latest auditors general report 2013/2014. The limited benefits from tourism in Uganda are attributed to the following:

According to Jossy Muhangi, the public relations manager at the Uganda wild life authority, negative publicity of the country in the outside world countries (tourist origins) is the main cause for low growth of tourism in Uganda. Uganda is still known for insecurity because of the lord’s resistance army rebels mostly in the northern parts of Uganda which threatens most tourists and hinders them from touring to Uganda despite of its unique and interesting tourism features. Also, the fragile security situation in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia where al-Shabaab militants have created an undesirable environment hinder travelers to Africa and partly to Uganda killing tourism in the country.

More still, the outbreak of the epidemics especially Ebola in West Africa also limited tourism in Uganda, tourists were so much scared for their lives and safety from this dangerous epidemics that was spreading at a higher speed leading to the death of many people in the shortest time including tourists. Up to present, most travelers still know that Ebola still exists and cannot travel to Uganda hence killing tourism in the country.

In addition, the anti homosexuality law that was passed by the parliament of Uganda in 2013 had a great impact on the growth of tourism in the country, it is believed that most travelers to Uganda come from countries were homosexuality is a right for people and even some of the them participate in the game. This anti homosexuality law that was passed and signed restricted most travelers from visiting Uganda hence killing tourism in Uganda.

Also, the political rivals in Uganda led by the opposition parties has made Uganda especially in Kampala the capital and the main hub in the country un conducive for then travelers, the most opposing party is the forum for democratic party (FDC) and such rivals and fights with the police of Uganda discourages travelers to the country hence killing tourism in Uganda.

Conclusively, According to the Uganda tourism board spokesperson Vincent Mugaba, the lack of a clear cut strategy for promoting tourism both at home and abroad coupled with the unscrupulous expenditures on the unrewarding public relations promotions by the Uganda tourism board is the main cause. He also argued that Uganda is not the only country facing declining tourist numbers but also the immediate neighbors, like Kenya who actually spend a lot on marketing their countries. However, Uganda as a tourism destination is trying to tap every opportunity possible to market tourism so as to promote tourism in the country and cover up for the decline in the past.