Tourism Players Skeptical About Budget Increment

1930 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
This is the first time the board is getting a huge budget increment several years. In the 2013/2014 UTB had been earmarked to receive two billion shillings. In the 2012/2013 budget, it received 600 million shillings.

Private players in the tourism sector have given the 2014/2015 budget a lukewarm reception despite increased funding for the sector. In the 2014/2015 budget, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka proposed a 5 billion shillings allocation to the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB).
 
This is the first time the board is getting a huge budget increment several years. In the 2013/2014 UTB had been earmarked to receive two billion shillings. In the 2012/2013 budget, it received 600 million shillings.
 
Kiwanuka explained that the increment was to help UTB better market Uganda as a global tourism destination. She also paid tribute to Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) for putting up a vigorous fight against poaching and preserving Uganda's flora and fauna.

 
Kiwanuka said since tourism is a abig component of the economy, due attention must be given to promote it;
 
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However, private tourism players are not amused with the increment. They believe that the figure is still too little compared to what other East African Countries are investing.
 
Amos Wekesa, the Managing Director of Great Lakes Safaris says though they appreciate the increment, it is still too small. Wekesa points out that out of the five billion shillings, 700 million shillings has already been budgeted for Africa Tourism Association meeting and more than half of the remaining amount will be for salary enhancement of the staff, leaving meager amount for actual marketing. He proposes that a minimum of five million US dollars must be allocated for marketing.
 
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Kelley Mac Tavis, the Executive Director of Pearl of Africa Tours and Travel, says more must be done to promote tourism in the country. She says though government has provided its part, it must increase the funding to the sector and offer more incentives.

 
Lesley Carvel, the General Manager of Nile River Explorers, says the increment means a lot to tourism development in the country. She says the more the government invests, the more revenue it will get. She says most of the time the promotion of tourism in the country has been the work of private operators and says government must do more. 
 
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Officials from both the tourism ministry and Uganda Tourism Board have not yet commented on whether the increment will make positive impact in promoting Uganda as a tourism destination. However, based on the previous figures, it is hoped that the increment will go long way in promoting Uganda to the rest of the world.