Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) this week joined the rest of the global aviation fraternity to commemorate 75 years of the existence of an international framework for regulating civilian aviation.
It was in December 1944 when the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), was signed by 52 States. The convention formed the basis for the creation of ICAO following ratification by 26 states which enabled it to become a specialized agency of the United Nations linked to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Since becoming a member of the United Nations on October 25, 1962, Uganda has been a member of ICAO not only as an active participant but also a beneficiary of the global aviation’s strict standards enforcement as well as through its development projects.
This week, Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority chose to highlight the twin relationship between aviation and tourism as a way to celebrate 75 years of the founding of ICAO.
The commemorative events took place at the Source of the Nile in Jinja on November 9, 2019.
The ceremony started with the raising of the ICAO flag by the State Minister for Trade Fredrick Gume Ngobi. Commemorations also featured a raffle draw for a Uganda Airlines return ticket to Nairobi.
Evans Mwangoki, a teacher in one of the schools in Jinja, was the lucky winner of the raffle draw.
UCAA said holding the event at the Source of the Nile was meant to promote tourism by highlighting the site as an iconic tourism attraction for Ugandans and other tourists from around the world.
Vianney Luggya, the Director of Public Relations at UCAA explained that air transport has over the years aided tourism in facilitating safe and quick transportation of people to access Uganda’s beautiful and world renowned sites.
Entebbe International airport has recorded a significant increase in the number of tourists coming into Uganda and natural features such as Mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori), Murchison falls National park, Queen Elizabeth National park, Source of the Nile and the rare Mountain Gorillas are some of the biggest attractions.
According to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), Uganda recorded a 4.1% increase in tourist arrivals between 2015 and 2016 with up to 1.32 million tourist coming into the country.
Tourism is also the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner bringing into the country US$1.3 billion.
The revival of the national carrier Uganda Airlines this year is one of the clearest signs that the government is committed to promoting tourism as a strategic sector for the economy. Now with four aircraft, the airlines flies to over six regional destinations such as Nairobi, Arusha, Juba, Mogadishu, Kigali and Bujumbura.
According to Minister Ngobi, Uganda is also committed to opening new air routes and bringing two more air buses in 2020 which will expand the airlines network including flying to the United Kingdom.
“It is for the reason that the World’s largest travel guide book (Lonely planet Magazine) in 2012 listed Uganda as the “best choice” holiday destination,”
Other measures the Uganda is trying to promote the airline is through signing Bilateral Air service Agreements (BASAs). So far the country has concluded 47 BASAs including with Israel, Canada and Switzerland in 2019.
UCAA has among other initiatives presented business cases to a number of world class Airlines seeking to woo them to fly to Uganda.