UGANDA’S TOURISM INDUSTRY REJECTS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM RANKINGS
‘Uganda has improved in many spheres, that’s why it has continued to receive global recognitions. Infrastructure and security have all improved so I don’t know what they are talking about’ said Mr. Cuthbert Baguma, CEO of the Tourism Uganda, aka Uganda Tourism Board, when the results of the recently published survey by the World Economic Forum, in short WEF, were published, showing Uganda had slipped one place from 115 to 116 of 140 sampled countries.
‘There is a big flaw somewhere in their way of putting things together’ said a regular contributor on condition of anonymity before continuing ‘Last year the Lonely Planet Guide declared Uganda as their top destination for 2012 and this year it is National Geographic which has named Uganda as among their top destinations.Visitor numbers are up. Revenues are up. Visitor satisfaction according to our own internal surveys is up. The country is peaceful contrary to what some international media peddle about us. Kidepo Valley National Park has been named as the most spectacular park. Uganda keeps hosting big events and conferences so how did they arrive at us losing a place. We should by our own estimates have gained entry into the top 100’.
True enough, facilities and attractions all speak for Uganda but to realize the country’s full potential, and rise in terms of global recognition, it takes sufficient funding for the activities of the tourism board and to facilitate a new marketing vision for new, emerging and existing market places way beyond what government presently injects into the sector. ‘If only agreement could be reached to operationalize the tourism levy, that money could be a savior for the sector and fund a much bigger global market penetration. Kenya is planning big buck spending for their 50th anniversary of independence, Rwanda is spending again more on tourism marketing and Tanzania also is adding funding. Our government must finally stop talking and start doing the right things. Instead of concentrating on miniskirts they should find ways and means to add funding to the tourism sector for marketing’ added another source, referring to the present attempt by the country’s minister for ethics to criminalize wearing of miniskirts in the context of a bill before parliament dealing with pornography and related issues. ‘We have 10 national parks. We have 2 gorilla national parks. From Jinja to Mbale to the Rwenzori Mountains we offer adventure and thrills to adrenalin junkies, rafting, quad biking, bungee jumping, paragliding, acrobatic flying, abseiling, mountain climbing. Those rankings are just plain wrong and I see some level of lack of attention to detail by those who compiled the charts. Uganda is a lot better than what those people are telling the world and those who visit us will be our witnesses and ambassadors’ were the closing remarks after discussing the issue yesterday evening.
Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, remains open for business and can be accessed with multiple daily flights by international airlines from Europe, the Gulf and the rest of Africa. Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Egypt Air, South African Airways and RwandAir are joined by such big league names as Emirates and Qatar Airways from the Gulf and KLM, Brussels Airlines and British Airways from Europe. Visit www.visituganda.com the official site of Tourism Uganda or the UWA website via www.ugandawildlife.org for more information on the country and its varied attractions.