Tourism Sector Profile for Uganda
Contribution to the economy
Pearl of Africa
Sir Winston Churchill called ‘Uganda ‘Pearl of Africa’ because of its flora and fauna. It is a home of many species of animals including the African buffalo, hippos, elephants, lions, rhino, gorillas, leopards and others. It has many species of birds, butterflies and moths. It has mountains, swamps, rivers, lakes forests, jungles, hot springs, savannah, crater lakes, fertile and semi-arid land and it is the most bio-diverse countries in Africa. The River Nile starts its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea from Uganda. In addition Ugandans are open and friendly to visitors.
According to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) report of FY 2016/17 tourists arrivals were 1.3 million in FY 2016/17 and plans are under to increase the arrivals to 4 million visitors per year by 2020. The number of tourist arrivals is expected to reach 1.56 million in FY 2018. Tourism sector contributed about 10% in FY 2016/17 to the GDP and its contribution is expected to rise to 15% because of planned tourist arrivals. The government has recognized the sector as a priority area for the economic development of the country and focused its effort in the areas of policy reforms, capacity building, private sector linkages, product competitiveness , tourism facilities improvement, marketing and publicizing Uganda as the preferred tourists’ destination. UTB is currently promoting the emerging tourism products of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE), Faith Based tourism, birding in additional to tradition products .
Government affirmative actions
The affirmative actions of government include the following among others:
- 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
- Partner in The three Northern Corridor Integration Project of Partner States of Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda for marketing the region as single tourism destination.
- Uganda hired three firms to market the Pearl of Africa in United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
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.
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.
The Board is therefore responsible for promoting Uganda as a preferred holiday destination both locally and internationally.
UWA is responsible for management and conservation of wildlife in Uganda, both in and outside the wildlife protected areas (PAs). 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.
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.
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.
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 25 Rhinos at the sanctuary from the original 6 rhinos of which four were captured in Kenya, Solio Ranch and the other two donated by Disney Animal Kingdom in America.
Tourism sector employs over 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 travelers, 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.
Uganda Hotel Owners’ Association (UHOA) which is a trade and lobbying organization with hotels, lodges, Motels, B&Bs, Inns and camps among its members. UHOA sets standards for its members.
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;
- Limited marketing budget
- Lack of a national carrier resulting in unfavorable 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.
Organization of information
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