Explore Uganda campaign applauded for promoting domestic tourism
The State Minister for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra, has applauded the Explore Uganda- the Panel of Africa program, for promoting domestic tourism in the country.
The Explore Uganda -The Pearl of Africa campaign was launched by President Museveni in 2022, with the aim of revamping the country’s tourism sector which was greatly affected by the covid-19 pandemic.
President Museveni described it as a strategy to reimage the country’s tourism and put Uganda in a competitive position as an internationally recognized tour destination.
Speaking about the achievement of the different activities under the program, Mugarra said that the Explore Uganda campaign has greatly contributed to the current upward trend in domestic tourism which was not the case before.
“Due to this intervention, the number of Ugandans visiting the protected area has increased to 839,000 up from 132,000, and we are targeting 1 million local tourists to these places.” He said.
Before COVID, the tourism sector was bringing in 1.6 billion dollars, and the minister says that with this and more interventions, they target to have the sector bring in more.
“Explore Uganda is one of the many interventions we are doing as a ministry and government to see that tourism comes back to its glory and even goes beyond. Before COVID tourism was bringing in around USD 1.6 billion but probably in the next four years we want it to bring in even USD 5 billion and we believe this can be achieved if we have the right support and the structures,” Mugarra explained.
According to Mugarra, the spotlighting of the key sites in the different parts of the country is mainly targeting the local market, but the bigger focus is on the international market, and to achieve this government is investing in marketing outside, and also the development of the Uganda product.
Stephen Masaaba, the Director for Tourism and Business Development at the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said that the campaign has not only helped in increasing visitor numbers to the protected areas but has also helped to maintain the visitors.
“When people visit these areas, part of the money is given to the surrounding communities, and part of it is ploughed back into the conservation of the protected area.