Develop our vast tourist attractions

Monday August 5 2019

Tourism site. Tourists enjoy a boat cruise at

Tourism site. Tourists enjoy a boat cruise at the Source of the Nile in Jinja District on April 3. PHOTO BY DENIS EDEMA 

By Editor

Reports that the government is planning to revamp tourism sites on the Source of River Nile in Jinja and Njeru Municipality is a welcome development for Uganda’s budding tourism industry. A master plan to redevelop the area measuring 10 kilometres is ready and awaits approval by the Tourism ministry.
The proposal, according to Mr Jimmy Kigozi, the principal tourism development officer at the Tourism ministry, is designed to ensure tourists are attracted to explore all attractions in the areas. Visitors would be able to view the Source of the Nile using an observation tower or see-through deck, among other exciting attractions.
This means visitors who come to the Jinja side will be attracted to visit the Njeru side because of the different products on both sides. Such a plan, intended to cater for all categories of visitors including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities, is expected to give significant rise to visitor numbers and subsequently reflect on the tourism revenues.
Uganda’s tourism sector has registered growth over the years, thanks to robust marketing. In 2018 for instance, the sector posted $1.63b (Shs6.1 trillion), up from $1.4b (Shs5.2 trillion) in 2017.
If the master plan is implemented, the Njeru side of the Source of Nile will have Nile Civilised Village representing different cultures and activities carried on River Nile to reflect diversity of ethnic groups living on the shores. This will also showcase Uganda’s rich cultures to visitors.
The Source of Nile, a key tourism attraction is currently being claimed by both Jinja and Njeru authorities. Njeru Municipality leaders last month protested the present arrangement where revenue from the Source of the Nile – about Shs1 billion annually – goes to Jinja. The proposed plan is, therefore, expected to resolve this conflict.
These are obviously good plans that, if implemented, will give our tourism sector a significant boost, more so because Source of the Nile carries international interest and significance. However, for the plan to work well, government should put in place necessary infrastructure to ease movement of tourists and improve the hospitality industry.
This master plan is a big step in turning Source of the Nile into a thriving tourist hub. With effective marketing and improved road, water and air transport, Source of the Nile will register increased tourist numbers. This should also be an opportunity to upgrade other tourism sites across the country.