Museveni outlines 5 strategies to increase export earnings through tourism

President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to support the private drive to increase Uganda’s export earnings with special emphasis on tourism. At State House in Entebbe on Wednesday April 19, the President outlined five strategies that would help promote the image of the country and thus attract more visitors and investors into the country.

In the President’s strategy, the government will work on a facelift of the major cities frequented by tourists, including the capital city, Kampala. He directed that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) should give monthly updates on the clean-up, repair and maintenance of roads in the city. The President directed KCCA to follow the Parish model approach and have at least one Garbage truck for each of the 99 parishes, 10 garbage skips per parish and four (4) skip-loaders per division. In this regard, Mr Museveni directed the Ministry of Finance to release Shs6 billion, the quarterly contribution to KCCA for pot-hole filling, repairs and maintenance of roads.

“I have been told only 30% of this money has been released this financial year causing roads outside the AFDB project to fall into bad disrepair with attendant problems of traffic jams. The 41 African Development Bank (AFDB) city roads project will continue for the next four years to improve the city transport,” Museveni said, adding that all cities, starting with Kampala, should have ‘lost and found’ locations and accessible places of conveniences for tourists and this should be replicated in the districts of Kabarole, Gulu, Mbarara, Soroti, Arua, Masindi, Mubende, Kabale and other locations usually frequented by tourists.

Mr Museveni also directed the Civil Aviation Authority to work with the Works and Transport Ministry and the private sector players to install Uganda Trade Hubs at Airports and aerodromes across the country, starting at Entebbe International Airport. The Hubs will exhibit coffee, chocolate, Uganda leather products, sugar, fruits, vegetables, dairy, beef, poultry, etc., and will be sources for content about tourism and hospitality in Uganda.

“The Trade Hubs will be ran by the private sector and they will be the basis for mapping more than 10,000 tourist attractions in Uganda. Many of you know, our country has the best weather, holds the world’s most powerful waterfalls, it has some 54% of all existing mountain Gorillas and has the highest block of mountain ranges on the continent,” H.E Museveni noted.

He emphasized that the Trade Hub and private sector will work with Uganda Airlines, internet and other media channels to produce and provide content on these sites and mvre in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and its institutions of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). According to the President, the Hub idea will be replicated at all aerodromes across the country wherever tourists land, including the border points.

The President added that the Trade hubs will also be installed in Belgrade, Serbia, the Uganda UN mission in New York, Uganda High Commission in London, Uganda High Commission in Kinshasa, Uganda missions in Brussels and South Africa, Uganda mission in Beijing, Uganda mission in the UAE and Uganda mission in India.

Mr Museveni further directed that the four export aerodromes of Pakuba, Kasese, Kidepo and Kisoro be tarmacked with hard surfaces and other appropriate facilities to allow arrivals that don’t need to first get to Entebbe airport. The aerodromes should have international codes to allow tourists booked directly to the game parks. “The CAA should work with the private sector and the ICAO and IATA, where necessary, to gazette and improve safety standards so that these aerodromes can be given international codes,” the President said.

He also directed the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to work with telecom operators to provide broadband internet in the game lodges and in the aerodromes including 5G networks for places like hospitals, hotels and educational institutions.

All the border points according to President Museveni, starting with Malaba, Mpondwe, Elegu, Mutukula should be treated as export and tourism points and have the private sector involved in the design and set up of the Hubs.

He directed the Ministry of Works and Transport to have information points, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for those who need to change or withdraw money to pay at the road tolls.

“When visitors arrive after midnight and are unable to exchange money at the airport, how will they use your road toll if you don’t provide facilities for them?” H.E Museveni wondered!

According to the President, every high category visitor who comes to Uganda for a week should at least spend $10,000 in Uganda, and this can happen if they have better information. He said the Non-Aligned Movement International Conference that Uganda will be hosting in January 2024 will attract visitors from over 100 member countries meaning, hotels and booking agents should be preparing to take advantage of this opportunity to attract more arrivals.

Mr Museveni also on Wednesday launched the Trade Frontier Fund (TFF) which will help exporters to underwrite their invoices and provide them with working capital. He thanked the committee on exports for finding ways to leverage and match the funds given to them and for connecting with scientists to commercialize their findings with the private sector. “I thank the Private sector Foundation, the UNDP and others who have joined the effort to increase our exports, drive manufacturing and industry and to support the private companies,” he said.

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