Uganda today joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Tourism Day and celebrations will be held in Kalangala District (Ssese Islands).
In the week leading up to the much anticipated day, tourism bodies in Uganda organized activities including parliamentary and public debate, camp fire, cultural food and fashion presentations, school outreaches, site visits and launching the Tourism Infrastructure Program.
These events will climax with the Hotel Awards in Uganda’s tropical beach paradise today.
The World Tourism Day is internationally commemorated every September 27 as a way of bringing people together to reflect on the importance and benefits that accrue from tourism.
The UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and Uganda’s event in Kalangala is themed “Unlocking Uganda’s Tourism Potential for Sustainable Development”.
Tourism is today the 3rd largest export industry in the world after chemicals and fuels. It brings hope, prosperity and understanding to so many lives and livelihoods all over the world.
In Uganda’s case, tourism earned over USD1.4billion in foreign exchange in 2016, an increase of over USD100 million from the previous financial year. Employment in the sector is still one of the fastest growing with over one million working in tourism related businesses.
Stephen Asiimwe, the CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) says that with the sustained funding and support that the Government is investing in the sector, these benefits to businesses and individuals in Uganda can only grow.
“This year’s theme is on sustainability in all areas and as the destination marketing agency, we believe the investments over the years are the reason we have seen a rise in the amount of money brought in by the tourism industry,” he says. He adds that support for domestic tourism will continue to grow to stimulate local travel.
“One of our strategies is to support low cost, high impact partners. Take the ‘UGin21Days’ initiative. While funding a private initiative like that would be expensive, working with other private and public businesses makes it happen,” Asiimwe adds.
This was in reference to a private campaign that is taking Ugandans on an explotary journey to Arua and back to Kampala. Participants share experiences on social media as they travel.