Godfrey Kiwanda,the state Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities has asked Ugandans to wake up and do the needful as far as development is concerned.
Kiwanda acknowledged that though there is Covid19,it’s not only in Uganda but allover the world and many countries have already moved on with developing their economies.
According to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB),most if the tourists who visit Uganda come from the western World,USA,UK,Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa among others but that has seen the sector dwindle due to Covid19.
Kiwanda asked Ugandans to start embracing what they have as a country and start visiting their country while contributing towards the development of their country.
Speaking at the flagging off ceremony for Uganda’s gold medalist Joshua Cheptegei to Rwenzori mountain, Kiwanda cited that the journey to exploring and knowing Uganda better starts with Ugandans themselves and they shouldn’t wait for other countries to tell them how good Uganda is.
Kiwanda told Ugandans to make it apoint to know why their country is one of the most visited destinations in the region and he believes that Ugandans knowing their country well, attracts other nationals the more to visit the country.
“Ugandans should stop this habbit of leaving Uganda be known by foreigners saying it’s not meant for them.All that time,you have been having excuses that the tourism fees are high,well,that’s no more now that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) reduced gorrila tracking fees to just only Shs150,000.
I am assuring you that you are our number one customers, don’t ever think that those advertisements your see on TV or hear on Radio are for foreigners,no,they are meant for you.
You can never market something you you don’t know,we should all be the ambassadors of our country.We have seen other Nationals spending millions of money just to know our country yet we don’t even want to spend a single coin to know your country.”
The tourism sector being one of the most hit sectors, Kiwanda said it’s not proper for fellow country men and women to keep on lamenting about Covid19 as if Uganda is the only country suffering from the pandemic.
Look here,I think time for lamenting is over,we can not keep lamenting about Covid19 all the time while the rest of the World is adopting to the new normal and are preparing very well ahead of development of their economies.”
Kiwanda added that, “according to the figures,we are doing badly as compared to the previous years.For example,we managed to generate revenue of over 47billion in 2019 and yet this financial year,we only have only 1.5 billion.
However,that should not discourage us from achieving our dream of becoming the number destination in the whole world and this greatly starts with me and you.”
While speaking at the event held at the Kampala Serena Hotel,Lily Ajarova, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) CEO urged Ugandans to embrace in the board’s campaigns aimed at Ugandans visiting several parts of the country so as to be able to market it to the world.
Ajarova revealed that Uganda Tourism Board has many campaigns including ‘Take on the Pearl and Tourism Konnect among others where Ugandans will get a chance to explore their country with discounted rates at the game parks and hotels and lodges surrounding them.
As to why they chose the mountainous area of Rwenzori, Ajarova said it’s the third visited area with over 65,000 visitors every month and with such a huge number of visitors,it’s worth the recognition.
The ‘Tourism Konnect’ campain will see Cheptegei,Golola Moses and Lilly Ajarova take on the hiking challenge in the mountain among other activities.
Athelete Cheptegei thanked UTB, Talent Africa, Tourism Ministry along side it’s partners United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for enabling Ugandans explore their country.