Gulu Tour Operators make Losses this Christmas Season

2825 Views Gulu, Uganda
The local tourism business in Gulu is limping this Christmas season. Alphonse Otto, Director of Binen Tour and Travel Agency, says the number of people who are using their services to visit tourist attractions in Gulu and Amuru districts is minimal. He says very few people in the two districts seem interested in visiting the area despite the fact that it is home to very important historical sites, beautiful natural scenery and a diverse culture. Gulu and Amuru are home to the Murchison Falls National Park and the western side of the Karuma Falls. The national park boasts a wide variety of game like elephants, lions, giraffes, buffalos, kobs, crocodiles, baboons and warthogs. It also has a large number of indigenous and migrant birds. Otto says people in Northern Uganda are ignorant about what lies in their backyard and that they too can visit the national parks to view the country's natural heritage. He says he hoped that with the return of peace to the region, there would be a boost in his business. //Cue in: iThe response from #i Cue out: i# about to go back.i// Binen Tour and Travel charges 180,000 for a daylong trip to Murchison Falls National Park. Prices for foreign nationals are much higher at 230,000 shillings for a visit to the park. Joseph Odur, a resident of Gulu town, says these prices are unaffordable for most people. He says very few people have the time or money to visit tourist sites, and even if they did, they would rather spend time with their families or friends over Christmas. Alphonse Otto is of a different opinion. He says if people knew what was available to them, they would spend the money on domestic tourism. Otto wants the local governments in Gulu and Amuru to consider privatizing the management of some sites, like Sir Samuel Baker's Fort at Patiko and the Guru Guru Hills where the Lamogi rebellion took place. He says a private company would be able to erect infrastructure necessary to attract tourists and would manage revenue collection and advertising better than the local governments are doing. //Cue in: iIf the district could #i Cue out: i# more than the rocks.i// The Gulu District Commercial Officer, Bernard Okumu, says the process to find a contractor to run Baker's Fort is already underway. Other potential tourist sites in Amuru and Gulu are Tochi Resort Beach, the large concentration of colobus monkeys in Atiak forest reserve, Amoropii Hot Spring