Business

Sector players want Shs12 billion budget to market tourism industry

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By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Monday, February 10  2014 at  02:00

In Summary

Inadequate marketing largely explains why tourists prefer going to neighbouring countries.

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KAMPALA

Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) will lobby government to increase funding for marketing tourism in North America and other selected satellite cities around the world from the current expected $9,000 (Shs221 million) to $5 million (Shs12 billion).

“Lobbying is part of our mandate,” UIA executive director Frank Sebbowa said last week in a meeting aimed at building competitiveness in tourism with a view to attract investment and employment in the sector.
He continued: “We will lobby for $5 million to be put in marketing the country’s tourism industry every year. This is something we shall start doing immediately.”

This was after tourism industry players argued that lack of marketing explains why tourists prefer going to neighbouring countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania rather than here—in Uganda.

“Kenya invests more than $30million (about Shs74billion) in marketing its tourism sector, Tanzania puts $12million (about shs29billion), Rwanda $5million (shs12billion) and Burundi injects $1.5 (about Shs3.5billion) and Uganda is much less than all the other neighbouring countries,” the Executive Director, Pearl Of Africa, Ms Kelly Mac Tavish said last week.

It emerged that unlike the other countries, Uganda is hoping to invest less that Shs250million for market, an amount the industry player described as a joke.
There was also an appeal that the $10million out of the $25billion provided by the world bank be injected in marketing Uganda abroad since the other half has been allocated in the establishing a school that will produce waiter and waitress—human resource for service industry—hotels.

Meanwhile, a research by the investment body enumerating challenges tourism sector is grappling with was also released. According to the report, the sector is facing constraints such as lack of identity at the international scene, double taxation of tourism facilities like hotels and minimal efforts to promote community tourism.

The minister of Tourism Maria Mutagamba said she will look at the report with a view to implement the recommendations suggested. She also agreed with the move to increase funds for marketing and applauded the State Minister for investment, Gabriel Ajedra gesture to help her lobby for the increment.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com