The Ugandan Minister of State for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda, says the government of Uganda is committed to promoting tourism as the industry is the biggest foreign exchange earner for the country.
In an interview at the recent Akwaaba Africa Travel Market in Lagos, the Ugandan Tourism Minister said, the sector contributes almost 10% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP and still countiing.
Kiwanda noted that tourism brings in more money than coffee and tea that Uganda prides itself in, adding that the government was investing massively in the sector to attract more people.
“That’s a lot, 10% of the GDP is now the biggest foreign exchange earner in the country, it brings in more money than the coffee that use to bring in more money, it brings in more money than the tea that we use to boost of”.
He added that, “Uganda is an agricultural country; tourism is bringing in more money than even the oil that we just discovered because off course the oil will just be there for few years, tourism is here to stay”.
Kiwanda said currently, Uganda is hosting over 2 million visitors but their target for 2021 is to host double the number to 4 million with aggressive marketing.
“So we really need to promote tourism in Africa because it is only the very sustainable resource, it is the hope for our generation and the generation to come, we are very grateful for this but what I can tell you is that as Uganda we are hosting over 2 million visitors and our target for the year 2021 is to host 4 million visitors, to double this calls for aggressive marketing”.
In the area of job creation, the Ugandan Minister of State for Tourism said, as of now Ugandan tourism had created 1.5million-1.8million jobs that are directly connected to the tourism; these are tour operators, people working in the hotels, people working in the restaurants, people working as tour guides and as drivers.
“It is now almost 1.6million people that are directly engaged in the tourism sector, so the more we expand, the more employment we give to our people”.