We must engage local communities for tourism to prosper - Minister Mugarra

Tuesday September 28 2021

State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra. Photo/courtesy

By David S. Mukooza

State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra has urged players in the industry to engage local communities to prosper. Mugarra said this while speaking during celebrations to mark World Tourism Day at Kampala Sheraton Hotel.

"Tourism can only prosper if it engages local communities by contributing to social values like education, participation, and enhanced local governance," Mugarra said.

He added, "This year’s WTD theme underscores the potential of tourism in promoting opportunities for communities around the world, as well as the role that community engagement has in advancing sustainable tourism development."

This year's celebrations are held under the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth.' The will for travelling and seeing different places will forever be inscribed in our hearts. Mugarra decried the heavy tourism losses as a result of COVID19 but thanked UNDP for financial support to revamp the sector.

In Uganda, the tourism sector has encountered major disruptions and losses since the pandemic began, to place it into perspective, before the pandemic in 2019, Uganda welcomed over 1.6m Visitors and received over US$1.6 Billion in tourist revenue, this was all cut to one third in the following year and the prospects of 2021 are equally still bleak. Mugarra said despite its downside, the pandemic has; "The COVID pandemic has accelerated our realization that the solid Tourism market base is right here at home. We have therefore initiated many campaigns to promote awareness and travel in the domestic market and we commit to doing more. I call upon the private sector to focus on this local segment by developing relatable products and the right pricing for this market."

World Tourism Day is aimed at recognizing the power and potential of Tourism to advance prosperity and drive inclusive sustainable development.