KAMPALA – Minister of tourism, wildlife and antiquities col. (Rtd) Tom Butime has called upon the Uganda Tourism Board of directors to foster the uptake of domestic tourism in a bid to see the tourism sector recover from the losses that were brought by Coronavirus.
He asked UTB to stand instrumental in the promotion of Uganda’s local domestic tourism product and also lay synergies for marketing destination Uganda across the region and beyond given that the Airport was reopening flights.
Butime made the call during the inauguration of the 4th board of directors of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) that was hosted at Mestil Hotel and Residences in Nsambya on Wednesday this week.
Before Covid-19, the tourism industry was the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda generating USD. 1.6bn per year and contribution of travel and tourism to the country’s GDP stood at 10% with tourism sector employing 8% of Uganda’s labor force.
He tasked the new board members to register, license and accredit all tourism service providers across the tourism value chain as well as focus on aggressive promotion and marketing, product development, branding, quality and skills development as pillars for fast-tracking the recovery of the industry
“There is no way you can ensure quality and standards in the industry without licensing players. The regulation comes with capacity building efforts to support our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to cope with national and international standards,” he said.
He further noted that as the sector prepares to resume full operations, standard operating procedures (SOPs) that were issued to prevent the spread of Coronavirus should fully be complied with and that if compliance fails, it will be a hard task to rebuild confidence in prospective clients.
Cabinet on September 14th approved the appointment of members of the fourth board whose term of office will run for the next three years (2020-2023).
The newly appointed 4th Board of Directors effective 30th September 2020 are Hon Daudi Migereko as the board chairman, Katende Suleiman (Representative for Uganda Tour Operators Association), Ms Susan Muhwezi (Representative for Hospitality Accommodation providers, Mr Kirya Eddie (Member Representative UTOA), Ms Susan Birigwa (Representative Private Aviation Industry), Mr Vivian Lyazzi (Member Representative Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities), Mr Mwanja Paul (Representative for Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development), Mr Chemongesi Sabira (Representative Uganda Wildlife Authority), Ronald Kagwa (Representative National Planning Authority), Alhajji Soma Baker (Representative Civil Aviation Authority), and Ms Lilly Ajarova as CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board.
Hon Daudi Migereko, the re-elected board chairperson appreciated the appointing authority for extending his tenure and several other members of the board. He also called for partnerships with the other East African countries aimed at operating in a much bigger environment.
The UN Deputy Resident Representative in Uganda Mrs. Sheila Ngatia said that according to a 2020 study by the United Nations in Uganda on the socio-economic impact of covid-19 pandemic, Uganda’s tourism sector is projected to register a loss of millions of dollars in the next five year period. So the plans on the sector’s recovery are very critical.
“We pledge UNDP’s commitment to partner with the ministry of tourism in developing solutions and responses to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic on businesses, jobs and livelihood.” Ngatia said.
The Inauguration Ceremony for the 4th board of Directors ended with an awarding session to the 3rd board of Directors done by the Col. (RTD) Tom Butime for their efforts rendered during their service and also a Charter exchange to the 4th appointed board of Directors.