Profile for Tourism sector

Hippos at Murchision

Tourism Sector of Uganda

Tourism sector has been recognised by government as priority area for the economic development of the country. The government’s focus in the areas of policy reforms, capacity building, private sector linkages, and product competitiveness. The government has embarked on measures of promoting   and marketing   tourist products and building skills in the sector. The government affirmative actions in the sector include the following:

  • A dedicated Ministry of Tourism
  • A government funded Uganda Tourism Board
  • A government funded Uganda Wildlife Authority
  • A dedicated Ministry of Water and Environment
  • Partnerships with the private sector and donor community in mobilizing resources for investment in sector.

Tourism development action in FY 2016/17

  • The three Northern Corridor integration project Partner States of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda launched the East African Tourism portal in February 2017. The portal was developed with the aim of marketing the region as single tourism destination. As an online platform, the portal is expected to boost tourism in the three East African countries.
  • Uganda hosted the Pearl of Africa expo, which is an annual tourism event in the East African region.
  • Uganda hired three firms to market the Pearl of Africa in United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Uganda is increasingly receiving positive coverage in leading media houses in these markets.
  • Participated in Miss Tourism competition;
  • Celebrated of World Tourism Day;
  • Attended 1st meeting of African Union Specialist Technical Committee Sector (Tourism)
  • Participated at Africa Travel Association (ATA) meetings;
  • Participated at the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee and Northern Corridor meetings in Nairobi;
  • Participated in bilateral meetings in Egypt and Turkey;
  • Star-rated 35 hotels that were awarded star-rating plaques and certificates during the World Tourism Day activities;
  • Participated in the identification of 122 classifiable accommodation facilities in the national parks through an inventory exercise;
  • Sensitized 91 owners and managers of accommodation facilities located in the National Parks;
  • Provided technical support to the Tourism Clusters of GANTONE, Kinkiinzi and Busoga to
  • Registered 879 accommodation facilities in Kampala;
  • Trained 99 hotel staff from different hotels in Kampala;
  • Sensitized 14 leaders from the 5 City divisions of Kampala;
  • Trained 36 hotel inspectors from the 5 City divisions

Tourism Promotion activities in 2016/17

Government promoted the tourism sector using the following approaches;

  • International marketing;
  • Regional marketing;
  • Domestic marketing including tourism awareness campaigns in schools and procurement of 5,000 branded promotional materials and
  • Organised 5 trips for foreign tour and trade operators and media.
  • Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) produced and distributed 22,000 copies of Conservation Educational Materials to educational institutions;

Tourism development Program in FY 2017/18

The government plans to do the following;

  • Organizing 6 domestic tourism fairs to showcase Uganda’s tourism potential
  • Participating in 4 regional marketing events and 6 international tourism marketing exhibitions to showcase Uganda’s tourism potential;
  • Producing and distributing  of 30,000 promotional materials in the various promotional engagements and markets;
  • Classifying 100 hotels and sensitizing  600 tourism facility managers on standards;
  • Inspecting and registering  4,000 tourism facilities; and
  • Training 432 local government staff of the major tourism districts in quality assurance.

The above government activities are   aimed at creating a conducive environment for attracting both investments and visitors to Uganda. It is important to note that a lot of private sector investment has been mobilized for hotels, transport, apartments and conference facilities.

Regulatory framework

Uganda Tourism Act of 2008

Tourism is regulated by the above Act that aims at consolidating  and streamlining  the law relating to tourism in order to provide for licensing, regulating and controlling of the tourism sector and to give effect to the implementation of the tourism policy of Government and to reconstitute the Uganda Tourist Board to make it private sector driven.

Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities

The ministry is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies, plans and programs that promote tourism, wildlife and cultural heritage conservation for socio-economic development and transformation of the country.

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB)

Uganda Tourism Board ensures the success and growth of tourism in Uganda. The Board is therefore responsible for promoting Uganda as a viable holiday destination both locally and internationally.

Uganda wildlife authority (UWA)

UWA is responsible for management and conservation of wildlife in Uganda, both in and outside the wildlife protected areas (PAs) that is National Parks, Wildlife Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries.UWA also promotes public participation in wildlife management using mechanism such as wildlife use rights as a means of eradicating poverty, through community conservation programs and promoting wildlife as a form of land use.

Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT)

BMCT was established in March 1995 under the Uganda Trustees Act mandated with ensuring that the biodiversity and ecosystem of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (MGNP) and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) are conserved in harmony with development needs of the surrounding communities.

Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT)

CSWCT was established as a combined national and international initiative and a globally recognized collaborative conservation effort geared towards developing and implementing a long term strategy for conservation of chimpanzees and their habitats.

The Rhino Fund Uganda

This was established as a public private partnership initiative with the overall aim of re-introducing Rhinos in Uganda. The Fund  manages the Rhino Sanctuary which is undertaking breeding for reintroduction of Rhinos into the wild and currently there are 17 Rhinos at the sanctuary

Performance of the sector

Accommodation and food services activities under which tourism sector falls grew by 9.7% in 2016/17 compared to the growth of 5.7% in 2015/16. The budget allocation to Tourism Trade and Industry under which the tourism sector   was budgeted is about Ushs 117 billion in 2017/18 (0.5%  of the total budget) compared to  Ushs 89 billion in 2016/17 ( 0.4% of the total budget).  The tourist arrivals and revenue contribution over are summarised as follows;

EAR 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Tourist Arrivals              843                806                945          1,151              1,196               1,206              1,266
Foreign Exchange Earnings in million US $ 540 594 662 805 1003 1085 1366
Source: Government Annual Performance Report, 2014/15 by Office of Prime Minister

Tourism employs 1.2 million people both directly and indirectly and Uganda is targeting tourist arrivals to increase to 4 million visitors per year, and double tourism earnings from USD 1.35 billion in 2016/17 to USD 2.7 billion by 2020.

Hotel and Accommodation facilities

It is estimated that Uganda has over 1300 registered establishments offering accommodation, meeting and conference facilities. These establishments have over 20,000 rooms with close to 30,000 beds to cater for tourists. Of these 1300 establishments, over 600 are in tourism centric districts of Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja.  Uganda is currently a major destination for business travellers, international conferences and meetings in the East African region because of availability of accommodation and conference facilities. Over 90% of all accommodation facilities in Uganda are owned by the private sector.

Training of human capital

Uganda has one government training centre, the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) , located in Jinja. The Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja offers practical to the students from the Institute. In addition a number of Ugandan universities are offering degrees and diploma programs in the area of leisure and tourism.

Challenges in Tourism sector

Despite being one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda with an annual growth rate of 21% and a total contribution of $1.4 billion in 2016 to the GDP, the tourism sector is facing the following challenges;

  • Lack of a national carrier resulting in unfavourable flight connections to source markets.
  • Inadequate governing funding to the sector
  • Poaching of wildlife
  • Lack of adequate number of trained and experienced people to manage the sector
  • Perceived insecurity in Uganda by tourists from the western world.
  • The global threat of terrorism.
  • Population pressure on the protected areas.
  • Insufficient marketing

The information in the sector is organised as below;

Tourism Sector Profile
Forests in Uganda
Hot Springs in Uganda
Infrastructure Support for Uganda Tourism
Islands of Uganda
Lakes of Uganda
Mountains in Uganda
National parks in Uganda
Rivers in Uganda
Water Falls in Uganda
Eco Tourism sites in Uganda
Historical sites in Uganda
Cultures of Uganda
Gorillas of Uganda
Chimpanzees of Uganda
Tourism and visitor Arrivals
Hotel and Apartment Accommodation in Uganda
Investment opportunities in Tourism Sector
Tourist/Visitor Attractions in Kampala
Attractions in Soroti Town


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