WASHINGTON DC- Uganda is getting there and indeed the power is now with us to flaunt our tourism industry.
Just like in the last few years, Uganda continues to do well on the global charts in terms of having some of the world’s tourism hotspots.
Uganda, according to the National Geographic Travelers Cool list, will be among the 19 key destinations that tourists must look out for in 2019 if they are to get value for their money.
The National Geographic magazine, US-based travel destination publication has named Uganda one of the top 4 cool travel destinations in Africa and 16 in the world according to the new travel rankings of 2019.
The list, according to the magazine, places feature everything from futuristic cityscapes and modernist architecture to pristine rain-forest and rehabilitated wildlife.
“The steady growth of its gorilla population is one of Africa’s great conservation success stories, with tourists playing an important role. Almost 20 families can now be visited by guided groups of up to eight. Trekking fees raise funds not only for gorillas and their habitat but also for Uganda’s other national assets including Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks, home to chimps, giraffes, and hippos,” the National Geographic Magazine noted in their Cool destinations list.
According to the National Geo, meeting eyes with a silverback mountain gorilla across a misty jungle, after an arduous hike through Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, leaves everlasting impressions of arguably the best wildlife safari in the world.
The magazine also indicates that Eritrea, KwaZulu-Natal, and Zimbabwe are good destinations around the globe that will drive tourist numbers in the coming year, 2019.
Other Places include Setouchi, Antarctica, Pittsburgh, Corsica, Cambodia, San Miguel de Allende, West Yorkshire, Hong Kong, Guyana, Oslo, Bhutan, Dundee, Matera, Indonesia, Sibiu.
The government says the new achievements could have resulted in its increased spend on tourism marketing across, even as critics insist less has been done to market Uganda’s tourism potential.
However, there have been some visible marketing efforts, although they have largely remained sparse and inconsistent.
On Tuesday Mr. Stephen Asiimwe, UTB’s chief executive told journalists that the preliminary figures gleaned from civil aviation and immigration services indicate a significant increase in arrivals in the region of 1.7 million from 1.3 million.
Considering the said stats, that would be an increase of 400,000 visitors – that is tourists and those visiting for conferences, business and so forth.
He says a number of airlines have reported an increase in a number of flights and passenger numbers.
Asiimwe says UTB has recruited market destination representatives who have been selling the country in the West, the East and some African countries like South Africa and Nigeria, to impact of which is being felt.
Last months, the ministry of tourism enlisted socialite Zari for the ‘Tulambule’ campaign, a domestic tourism drive to draw Ugandans to local tourist attractions during the festive season.
US rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian are expected to return to Uganda for their second visit, during which they will be named Uganda’s tourism ambassadors.
Tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner, generating $1.43b (sh5.4 trillion), followed by remittances of Ugandans working abroad at $1.2b (sh4.5 trillion) in 2017.
Earnings from tourism exports have grown from sh5.1 trillion to sh5.4 trillion over the same period. Uganda targets to increase earnings from tourism to sh10m by 2020.