Uganda hopes improving roads will triple tourist numbers

Stephen Asiimwe, chief executive officer of state-run Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), told Reuters that Uganda attracted 1.3 million tourists last year and expected the number to rise to 1.5 million this year.

Uganda intends to boost annual traveler numbers to 4 million over the next 5 years, helped by improvements in roadway networks around video game parks and other destinations, an authorities stated last week.

He said the roadways to be improved would include highways to connect parks to significant local towns.

Safaris, such as treks to see gorillas, is a significant foreign exchange earner for Uganda, which also exports coffee and tea however has just a little production base. It found large amounts oil in 2006 but has not yet started producing.

A significant destination are the gorilla tours, which take place in Bwindi Impenetrable National forest, a stretch of jungle in the southwest on the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth parks boast magnificent water falls and big game animals, such as elephants and lions.

However tourists landing at Uganda’s only international airport at Entebbe, just outside the capital, usually deal with long journeys on frequently improperly preserved roads to reach those,often remote locations.

Along with improving roadways, Asiimwe said the government was pursuing strategies to revamp little local airports to provide alternative and much faster routes for tourists to reach the parks.

“Our target is that by 2021 we want to have 4 million visitors,” he stated in an interview.

Stephen Asiimwe, president of state-run Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), told Reuters that Uganda attracted 1.3 million travelers in 2015 and expected the number to increase to 1.5 million this year.

Numbers have been slowly recovering after being hit by the ripple effects of Islamist attacks in neighbouring Kenya, a significant destination that saw visitor numbers plunge. Uganda often benefits from people crossing the border for a couple of days.

“The federal government has actually prioritised tourist roads,” he said, adding Uganda had also contracted three global marketing companies to promote the country in The United States and Canada and Europe.

Release ID: 151335