The festive season is already knocking at the doorway and many perhaps are wondering how best they can make it memorable but unfortunately, do not have any knowledge of which place to visit or spend special time with their dear ones. Well, for any plans to make your festive season a complete then consider Uganda a must to visit. Besides attracting foreign visitors, currently, a lot is being done to boost domestic tourism and currently, Uganda Tourism Board has launched what is dubbed ‘Tulambule Pearl Christmas campaign’-the initiative that is aimed at encouraging local tourists to pay a visit to different tourist sites that Uganda has in offer for the world. About 1.4 million tourist arrivals were registered in 2017 generating over $1.4 billion and this represents over 10% of the country’s GDP.
Whereas government targets 4 million international visitors by 2020, developing and promoting domestic tourism equally needs to be done if the set goal is to be achieved. Marketing Uganda both domestically and internationally will help attract more tourists to who will come to explore the country’s natural treasures. Uganda is naturally endowed with diverse wildlife, culture and nature. Its tourism sector is largely nature based with most safaris and tours mainly conducted in national parks that include Kidepo Valley National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Mgahinga National Park, and Mount Elgon National Park, Mount Rwenzori National Park, historical and cultural sites for instance Kasubi tombs site.
What to see and do in Uganda
Uganda is endowed with diverse wildlife species both forest and savanna grassland dwellers. Among others include the rare mountain gorillas and to track these unique creatures in Uganda you need $600 to secure your permit. Besides, you also have a chance to encounter the big game species-the elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, leopards and many savanna grassland wildlife species. Most of the savanna grassland wildlife species include Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semuliki Valley National Park and if you are interested in tracking primates especially chimpanzees then Kibale Forest National Park is the best place you should consider on your bucket list. Others include Budongo forest, Kalinzu forest, Toro-Semuliki wildlife reserve, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park and others.
Looking at the country’s diverse tourist attractions and rare nature, if Ugandans alone are allured to visit such picturesque sites, there would be a boom in the country’s tourism sector. Besides this would also bridge a gap of visitors that usually occurs during low season. Ugandans themselves are a major source of domestic revenue that needs to be tapped into and it is through aggressive marketing including campaigns like these ones that domestic tourism can be improved. However, this should also be backed by packages which are locally friendly. The deputy director UTB-John Ssempebwa also added that countries which do well in international tourism also do well in domestic tourism a reason why UTB has also come up to harness domestic tourism. He further added that 2018 is Uganda’s best year for tourism sighting an increase in visitor numbers. In 2008, about 700000 visitors were registered and in 2017, about 1.4 million visitors were recorded meaning at every ten years, Uganda’s visitor number doubles and it is expected to even increase more than what it is today to at least 1.7 million visitors. Other measures include recruiting tourism ambassadors which is intended to aid in promoting the country’s tourism sector both nationally and internationally. That said, Zari Hassan is currently the ambassador of tourism and by next year, Kanye West and the family.
The chairperson Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA) 'Susan Muhwezi' also pointed out that whereas accommodation facilities like hotels are prepared and even introduced locally friendly offers for domestic visitors for the festive season, government on the other hand also needs to do something on tax reduction. The festive season is normally the busiest period for all national parks and accommodation facilities. The private sector and government need to cooperate and interestingly, UHOA has trained its staff on customer care and hotels have also accepted to take on interns.