Ugandan travelers in for a cost shock when borders reopen


(Posted 26th September 2020)


As Uganda is nearing the opening date for borders and the international airport in Entebbe will travelers be in for a cost shock when they have to undergo and obtain the mandatory #COVID19 test prior to travel.

Fees obtained from 6 locations across Kampala suggest that a test can set a traveler back by as much as 470.000 Uganda Shillings while at the lower end – which include waiting periods of between 24 and 48 hours, the cost still remains high at 300.000 Uganda Shillings. In between were fees quoted at 350.000 Uganda Shillings, 365.000 Uganda Shillings, 370.000 Uganda Shillings and 400.000 Uganda Shillings.
Travelers, even those who take a bus to Kenya for instance, then have to add the transport to and from the laboratory, twice in fact, when they get tested and when they go to collect their original certificate – as emailed and printed copies are apparently not acceptable at either land borders or the airport.
Add the cost of the bus ticket, or the cost of an air ticket – both of which have risen substantially too from pre-pandemic levels – and leaving Uganda will definitely no longer be cheap and affordable only by people with deep pockets.

Upon return to the country do travelers then have to carry out another test in their country of departure, to satisfy the demand by Ugandan health authorities for arriving passengers – regardless if by air, land or lake – unless they want to risk an extended quarantine at their own expense.

In other countries have heated debates taken place over the cost of such tests, and in the Seychelles for instance has the hospitality and tourism association weighed into the discussion demanding the testing cost to be lowered and made more affordable, in order to keep the overall cost of a holiday there in the affordable range.

Here in Uganda it seems that the cost shock is waiting to hit unaware travelers only as the 01st of October nears and individuals have to rush to find an approved test facility and then get tested. At that stage may in particular travelers by bus find out that a test could cost a multiple of a one way bus ticket to for instance Nairobi, serving as a roadblock to travel.

Traveler numbers will be keenly monitored as of 01st of October to establish what impact both cost as well as logistical challenges to get tested may have on travel patterns and numbers.
Also monitored will be the handling of passengers by official personnel at land borders and the airport to establish what additional yet unknown roadblocks those may inflict on travelers, their levels of training, courtesy and compassion.
ATCNews invites feedback from intending travelers over their testing experience and their departure experience to then share with a wider readership.


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