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Rogue tour operator arrested as UTB tightens grip on quality assurance within the sector

Richard Tusasibwe, director of Gatatu Safaris Limited in Kigezi after arrest. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

KABALE – Tourism police have on Monday, August 12, arrested a rogue tour operator accused of fleecing tourists of USD 21,500. Richard Tusasibwe, director of Gatatu Safaris Limited in Kigezi was on Monday taken into custody after he was arrested by police at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale; near Lake Bunyonyi; where he had taken other tourists for a trip.

According to Tourism Police Commander, CP Frank Mwesigwa, Tusasibwe was arrested after being identified by covert teams at check-in. He is currently being held at Kabale Police station and charged with obtaining money by false pretence.

Mr Tusasibwe is alleged to have been contracted by 5 American tourists to organize chimpanzee and gorilla tracking expedition in Uganda. After an airport pickup and arrival in Kisoro, Tusasibwe abandoned the tourists at a lodge and has been on the run for the past two weeks.

Uganda Tourism Board Quality Assurance Manager, Samora Semakula said that the board was working around the clock to ensure that quality standards and the law are upheld in the tourism sector and that rogue operators face the law.

“We are pleased that the police has arrested a rogue operator who has been on the run for the last two weeks since this case was brought to our attention. Rogue tour operators are a peril to the growth and development of the sector. Uganda Tourism Board will continue to work with the tourism police and other players in the sector to ensure that the vice is brought to a conclusive end,” Semakula said.

Mwesigwa reassures tourists saying, “As tourism police, we are committed to clean up quack tour operators who con our tourists. Uganda remains a peaceful and secure country and all efforts together with stakeholders is to ensure that law and order is upheld in the tourism sector and the country at large.”

As mandated by the Tourism Act (2008) Uganda Tourism Board earlier this year kicked of a registration and licensing exercise of all tour operators and facilities in the tourism value chain. This process is aimed to effectively regulate the tourism sector and promote quality assurance across the value chain.

ABOUT UGANDA TOURISM BOARD

Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is a statutory organization established in 1994. Its role and mandate was reviewed in the Tourism Act of 2008.

The Board’s mandate is to promote and market Uganda across the region and internationally, promote quality assurance in tourist facilities through training, grading and classification, promote tourism investment, support and act as liaison for the private sector in tourism development.

The broader goals of the Board are to increase the contribution of tourism earnings and GDP; improve Uganda’s competitiveness as an international tourism destination, and increase Uganda’s share of Africa’s and World tourism market. UTB aims to create inclusive opportunities for the tourism sector through market transformation.

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