By Edward Nankunda
Tourism contributed sh6.3b to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the financial year 2014 – 2015, up from sh5.6b in 2013 – 2014. Uganda registered an increase of visitor numbers from 1,206,334 to 1,266,046. This is in part a result of enhanced marketing strategies and improved infrastructure, among others.
The sector contributed 592,500 jobs to the economy, which was an increase from 551,100 in 2013. The Minister of tourism Maria Mutagamba, said tourism is able to turn around the economy with continued government support. She also urged local governments to budget for tourism activities. She said there are plans to improve tourism infrastructure in areas such as the Rwenzori sub-region which have beautiful scenery that visitors find attractive.
The chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board, Stephen Asiimwe, explained that the organisation’s strategy is to find more innovative tourism products to entice visitors to spend more while in the country. He also suggested that reviving a national airline would boost tourism in the country.
The sector is expected to grow by 8% in 2015 and by 6.6% in the next 10 years.