News and Views

UWA, tourism board attacked for promoting only gorillas

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President Museveni has attacked the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for failing to effectively market Uganda abroad, saying it has become a major hindrance to the country’s tourism.

Mr Museveni, while speaking at the Presidential Initiative on Tourism at State House Entebbe (http://www.presuto.org/) said UTB promotes specific animals like Mountain Gorillas leaving the beauty in parks.

“Some of these people do not put thinking in what they do. Promoting mountain gorillas is good but what about the national parks that show Uganda’s uniqueness?” he asked.

He added: “Tourists would go to Kenya and Tanzania to see the lions and buffaloes and only come here for mountain gorillas.”

The President called the general manager of UTB, Mr Cuthbert Baguma, to explain why they only have promotions of mountain gorillas but he was speechless.

Drawing board
Mr Museveni urged the board to go back to the drawing board and rethink marketing strategies that bring out Uganda’s uniqueness to tap in the tourism revenue like other countries.

“I think we are just sleeping and UTB is the sleepiest of all,” he said.

The President lashed out at UWA for being ruthless while evicting people from national parks.

He said people should be told that the revenue from tourism is better than that from farming and link them to park hotels to buy their crafts instead of ordering them off park land like they have no stake in Uganda.

“I need to see these confused UWA people. Telling people to vacate for better revenue does not need much thinking,” he said.

He urged UWA officials to design proper user-friendly methods of ordering people to leave national parks than using a lot of force to evict them.

The Minister of Tourism, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, said the sector has great potential for accelerating the transformation of Uganda from a peasantry to a modern prosperous society that they should venture in.

Efforts to get responses from UWA and UTB were futile as the two executive directors failed to pick Daily Monitor repeated calls.

mssebuyira@ug.nationmedia.com

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