It is no secret that the Tourism Industry was one of the most hit and frustrated sectors of not just Uganda’s Economy but the world at large. In Uganda, the Public Health (Control of COVID-19) Rules, 2020 prescribed a countrywide lockdown that imposed transport restrictions upon citizens including Air Flights in and out of the country with exception of cargo planes and trucks. These restrictions saw a great fall in the number of both foreign and domestic tourists.
As time went on, transport restrictions in the country were eased as the use of passenger service vehicles and private cars was reinstated although the Airports remained closed. At this point, it was only logical and highly recommendable that the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities diverts its attention to the promotion of Domestic Tourism since it would take quite some time before the country received Foreign Tourists.
In a bid to realize the maturation of Domestic Tourism, Uganda Wildlife Authority (U.W.A.) in a letter dated 16th July 2020 issued out 7 promotional incentives and initiatives. U.W.A. declared that: Visitors who pay for 2 visitation days to a Game Park are to get 1 extra free day, two free Gorilla Permits for every 30 purchased by Tour Operators, promotional complimentary permits to Uganda Tourism Board for their Destination Marketing work, free entry to Mt. Elgon National Park & Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve for every Gorilla Permit bought. The prices for nature walks have further been reduced by 50%, and Mount Elgon hiking fees trimmed down by 20%.
We do recognize and applaud Uganda Wildlife Authority for taking these positive steps towards reviving domestic tourism in Uganda although it is worth noting that this will only remain a myth if the Ministry and all Stake Holders do not address the issue of accommodation and lodging which has notoriously become a nightmare for most potential domestic tourists who can not afford it.