Government targets to earn Shs380b from tourism related meetings  

Prior to Covid-19, tourism was Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner, fetching approximately $1.6b annually. Photo | file 

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The funding will seek to enable public private partnerships and joint ventures to develop modified tourism products and facilities, which are being undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism to promote earnings from tourism through meeting incentives, conferences and events. 

Government will seek to earn at least $100m (Shs387.3b) from hosting tourism related meetings, conferences and events in four years, according to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB). 

Addressing bankers during the Uganda Bankers’ Association annual conference, Mr Daudi Migereko, the UTB chairman, said, the banking sector must support tourism through providing finances to achieve its targets of earning at least $100m (Shs387.3b) in four years.

The funding, he said, will seek to enable public private partnerships and joint ventures to develop modified tourism products and facilities, which are being undertaken by the Ministry of Tourism to promote earnings from tourism through meeting incentives, conferences and events. 

Government, he said, had identified tourism cities, which, together with the private sector and bankers should support to establish international-level facilities to increase tourism earnings.  

Prior to Covid-19, tourism was Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner, fetching approximately $1.6b annually. 

Tourism, Mr Migereko noted had also been one of Uganda’s major employer, employing at least 667,000 Ugandans directly with a 7.7 percent contribution to gross domestic product. 

Tourism earnings

Data from World Tourism & Travel Council indicates that prior to Covid-19, the global tourism sector accounted for one in four new jobs created across the world, 10.3 percent of all jobs (333 million) and 10.3 percent of global gross domestic product or $9.6 trillion

International spending by the global tourism sector was registered at $1.8 trillion in 2019, 6.8 percent of the total world exports. 

However, Mr Migereko said, global tourism is projected to grow by 30.7 percent, taking the lead ahead of domestic tourism with international spending on tourism projected to increase by 24.3 percent in 2022, a significant decline from 69.4 percent in 2021.

In Africa, he said, tourism is projected to grow by 27.7 percent while in Middle East it will grow by 27.1 percent. In Europe it will grow by 23.5 percent, supported by the growth in the middle class, which is estimated to be at 50 percent across the globe. 

Mr Migereko also noted that the tourism sector in Uganda will need serious support to fully recover given that, according to a 2020 study by the Ministry of Tourism, at least 70 percent of the work force in the sector lost jobs due to Covid-19 while 91.8 percent of the tourism enterprises downsized the workforce due to the financial stress resulting from Covid-19. 

Hotels, he noted, were one of the hardest-hit by Covid-19 with occupancy rates dropping from an average of 58.2 percent before Covid-19 to as low as 5.3 percent by end of June 2020. 

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