Uganda is giving tourism top priority as opposed to allowing Ugandans to trade, in its plans to re-open Entebbe international airport.
In a news conference held at the government media centre this week, the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda indicated that as Entebbe international airport prepares to reopen on October 1, 2020, the government is focusing on promoting incoming tourists.
“We are soon opening the airport for tourists first and want to appeal to tourists that had booked not to cancel because we are willing to maintain Standard Operating Procedures,” said Kiwanda.
Kiwanda’s event is one of the major indications that the government is committed to rescuing the economy from the COVID-19 crisis that devastated the hospitality industry.
But while tourism suffered, the government said that the country saved money by reducing expenditure on imported Chinese merchandise. Because of reduced demand for imports, the Uganda Shilling gained value against other international currencies.
It is against this background that the government has been trying to discourage imports, and now to encouraging exports.
Realising the possible adverse impact of the political season that has already been characterized with bloodshed, to the already weak tourism industry, Kiwanda appealed to politicians to desist from violence which will further keep tourists away.
“We are cognizant of the tensions this period creates and the image challenges we face when we don’t properly exercise our democratic rights. We urge all contestants and the voters to maintain peace, law and order and to not let differences in opinion bitterly divide our society,” said Kiwanda.
Clare Mugabi, the Head of Marketing, Uganda Tourism Board reveled that as a team they are determined to awaken the tourism heritage that has been affected by floods and COVID-19 for the past 8 months.
“We are embarking on repositioning our country so that it’s proved safe and a team of colleagues is already in different tourism destinations to ensure Standard Operating Procedures are effectively implemented,” she said.
At the same briefing, Kiwanda officially launched the World Tourism Day that is slated for September 27, in Fort portal Tourism City under the theme “Tourism and Rural Community development.”
The ceremony will be kick-started with a number of activities on the September 24, that shall include bicycle riding by the Minister and Tourism Ambassadors to various tourist destinations like the Popular Nakayima Tree in Mubende, and other sites such as Walumbe Tanda Archeological graves, among others.