Eclipse should open new chapter

Tuesday November 5 2013

Thousands of tourists, both local and foreign, on Sunday gathered in Nebbi District to witness the hybrid solar eclipse that comes once in a century.

The hybrid eclipse saw Uganda’s profile being updated on many websites, including Wikipedia – one of the popular sites that provide global facts.
During the eclipse viewing, President Museveni used the opportunity to tell the world that Uganda welcomes all tourists but also warned that sometimes terrorists use the opportunity to enter the country and cause havoc.
The President also linked tourism to investment.

As a country, what lessons do we learn from the eclipse? What immediately comes to mind is using the hybrid occurrence as a springboard for the entire tourism sector.
Uganda has a number of forgotten tourism sites in all parts of the country.

Such attractions, if marketed well, could attract more revenue to boost our economy.

Just this year, Uganda was ranked among the top 20 global destinations in the year 2013, according to the National Geographic - an international travel channel affiliated to the National Geographic Society.

The Ministry of Tourism should not take a step back, but rather come up with a robust marketing and advertising strategy to keep Uganda among the top-ranked tourism destinations in the world.

Even locally, Ugandans should learn to love their country, visit the different tourism sites and thus be able to market the country from an informed point of view.

It is unfortunate that many Ugandans do not take local tourism seriously. Many citizens do not even know which tourism site is found in what part of the country!
Like the President said, tourism should also be looked at as another major source of income.

This newspaper recently reported that a man who works as a tourist guide, started with about Shs1 million but currently earns a fortune because his business has grown greatly.

Ugandans should be encouraged to tap from tourism by investing in transportation, accommodation, entertainment centres, arts and crafts, among others.

In August, it was reported that Uganda earns $1 million from the tourism sector every year, contributing more than 5 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Let us work towards earning more from tourism.

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