ENTEBBE – The African Primatological Society Conference (APS) ended on September 5, on a high note with wildlife experts calling for diversification of tourism products to reduce the pressure on great apes.
This was on Thursday, September 5, at Imperial Botanical Hotel in Entebbe.
The summit attracted over 30 countries which were respresented at the four-day event including; researchers, policymakers, tourism players, government agencies, diplomats among others who discussed practices and opportunities that primates are facing.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Ms.Lily Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) said;
“We have split the country into 13 clusters and we are profiling each of them to find their iconic features. Each is unique different”
Adding that; “We started with the equator that is known fo have
six points and we intend to package them differently. We call upon investors with the love for tourism to venture into marine, mountaineering, sports among others this way, we can diversify and reduce pressure on the great apes.”
“It is in recent years that the government has put key interest in the sector which is a plus for the economy. Tourism is about telling a story and we should invest in human capital to give them the best experience and Bugoma, one of the habitats is still under threat,” said Ms Ajarova.
Mr.Amos Wekesa, the CEO Uganda Lodges and a tourism expert said;
“Primates eco- tourism brings in about UGX 60 billion and alot can be got by the fact that we are sitting on the second largest lake in the world (Lake Victoria), Nile, mountains among others that have slot of potential and this is possible when entrepreneurs are shown the value this lucrative sector. We also need to start and work on our education curriculum so that tourism education is part in the syllabi so that the children appreciate it from the start.”
Praveen Moman, the proprietor of Volcano Safaris said that tourism is part of the answer, but only if connected to conservation.
“If you have no tourism, the primates will die. If you have too much tourism, the primates will also die. Conservation is really a difficult task if the people don’t earn from it, so we should find ways of making it work,” he noted.
Several awards were given out to some of the personalities that have excelled in their respective fields, notably in research and conservation.
– Dr. Russ Mittermeier
– Prof. Isabirye Basuta.
– Dr.Jane Goodall.
– Prof. Jonah Ratsimbazafy
– Prof. John Oates
– Prof. Vermon Reynolds.
Gabon was selected as the next country to host the conference in 2021.