KAMPALA – As Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the annual World Tourism Day, Uganda’s Tourism Ambassador and Multi-award winning artist Eddy Kenzo has come out to call upon Ugandan tour operators to localize the tourism sector in a bid to give it a facelift.
Kenzo made this call in line with this year’s theme dubbed ‘Tourism and Rural Development’ which he believes will help the sector earn big from its locals in a bid to develop their communities.
“We need to make Ugandans love their local tourism, why would they go to Dubai to tour? I don’t think a Ugandan should be charged in dollars because this scares them away. Lodge owners should also look at subsidizing the sleeping fees,” he says.
He argues that local menus should be incorporated in Uganda’s tourism as this will not only create jobs for local chefs but also make our local meals be recognized internationally.
“Why would a tourist come and eat something he has been eating in his country, let them try our local menus. We should also showcase our cultures, languages, norms and beliefs, tourism should not be limited to our tourist attractions like the game parks, mountains, waterfalls and birds.”
Kenzo shares that tour operators should also look at promoting Uganda’s native languages in tourism and come up with simple initiatives like giving some of our local names/ tourist attraction names to the tourists that visit Uganda as this will give them a sense of belonging.
“I want to start a campaign of leaving a tourism team on ground in each area I visit. These people will be champions of selling their locality to the world. This way, we will not only be selling just Uganda to Ugandans but also to the world over. I made research and found out that we focus much on foreigners. We need to treat Ugandan tourists the same way we treat foreigners, this will not only promote love for their country but it will also boost local tourism immensely,” he shared.
World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September with a purpose of fostering awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. Uganda holds its celebrations today in Fort portal Tourism City
Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic and no country has not been affected.
The restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand have led to an unprecedented fall in international tourism numbers, which in turn have led to economic loss and the loss of jobs.
The tourism crisis is also a threat to wildlife conservation initiatives and to the protection of the world’s cultural heritage.
With livelihoods at risk in and around protected areas, cases of poaching and looting are expected to rise. With 90% of World Heritages Sites closed as a result of the pandemic, humanity’s cultural heritage is at risk in all parts of the world.
According to a statement from on the United Nations website, this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector, including how it contributes to the sustainable development goals, through its social, cultural, political, and economic value.
“Tourism can eventually help us move beyond the pandemic, by bringing people together and promoting solidarity and trust crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation so urgently needed at this time. The 2020 edition of World Tourism Day, with the theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”, will celebrate the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside of big cities and preserving cultural and natural heritage all around the world.”
The statement adds that this year’s international day of observation comes at a critical moment, as countries around the world look to tourism to drive recovery, including in rural communities where the sector is a leading employer and economic pillar providing jobs and opportunity, most notably for women and youth.
“The situation is particularly hard for youth: young people in rural communities are three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults. Tourism is a lifeline, offering young people a chance to earn a living without having to migrate either within their home countries or abroad.”