(Posted 15th March 2022)
The recently published new tariffs for park entrance fees and activities in Uganda have met with swift reactions from the Ugandan tourism community and predictably not all positive.
The overriding mood is such that as tourism to Uganda is still in early recovery mode – largely attributed to the prohibitive and costly anti COVID19 measures (PCR tests on arrival were only recently scrapped but pre-departure PCR tests are still required unlike a growing number of other African tourism destinations) – and that under such circumstances cost increases will not be helpful to promote the destination.
Wrote one operator, preferring anonymity: ‘Inflation is beginning to bite in Europe and America. These are two key visitor source continents for us. Inflation here in Uganda too has reared its ugly head again and especially fuel is becoming ever more expensive. Foreign exchange rates are kept artificially low, making the Ugandan cost in hard currency for visitors a lot more expensive. The US Dollar by now should fetch over 4.000 Uganda Shillings and the Euro about 4.400 Uganda Shillings but are kept unrealistically low.
Available money for potential visitors is shrinking because of their inflation at home and destinations considered difficult and expensive are going to take a hit over that. The Ukraine war is also making people in our source markets anxious and cautious and careful with their money because they don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Therefore, raising cost for Ugandan safaris even more is simply a very badly timed move. But as usual, the powers that be do what they want and when things go bad come running to find out why – also as usual too late …‘.