What you need to know:
- According to Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the sector employs about 520,000 people directly and one million more indirectly, (MoFPED, Uganda, 2018).
A study to establish the state of Uganda’s tourism industry to help make well informed polices that will lead to reforms in the sector has commenced.
The lead researcher in establishing the state of Uganda’s tourism industry, Dr John Mutenyo of Makerere University told Daily Monitor on March 3, 2020 that the survey has already started and it is going to last for one month. Other key researchers on the team are: Dr Faisal Buyinza, Dr Ruth Nsibirano, Mrs Rose Kibuuka Nakimu, Mr Nelson Kakande, Mr Peter Babyenda and Mr Richard Kaweere.
“The survey shall cover all districts of Uganda where there are tour sites. These also include places where one can easily find foreign tourists such as hotels, restaurants,” he said.
Dr Mutenyo said Government of Uganda provided Shs30 billion to Makerere University Research and Innovation Fund (RIF), for financial year 2019/20. Over 230 projects headed by academic staff at Makerere University and Makerere University Business School were funded.
“The research aims at examining the factors that influence the demand for tourism in Uganda by both the local citizens and foreigners. It also attempts to establish the factors that constraints Ugandans from touring their country and identifying the challenges faced by the tourists in Uganda,” he said.
Dr Mutenyo said the study will be majorly quantitative; examining the determinants of tourism demand measured by the length of stay in the country. The qualitative aspect however, shall entail interviewing key informants from the different players in the tourism sector.
The population of the study are the tourists who are in Uganda, and the prospective local tourists. The study area shall be places where tourists can be found for example tour sites, hotels, restaurants, safari vans across the country. Tourists shall be randomly approached to answer the questions in the survey instruments.
He implored hotel and restaurant managers and Tours &Travel operators to be cooperative so that relevant information is obtained to enable the team come up with appropriate policies that shall lead to the development of the tourism industry to benefit the country as a whole.
Dr Mutenyo said tourism is the leading foreign exchange earner in Uganda, generating about $1.4billion 2017, revealing that it contributes 9.9 per cent of the country’s GDP.
“According to Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the sector employs about 520,000 people directly and one million more indirectly, (MoFPED, Uganda, 2018). The National Development Plan II (2015/2016 – 2019/2020) prioritizes investment in the tourism sector as one of the five key growth drivers to strengthen Uganda’s competitiveness for inclusive growth and employment,” he explained.
Dr Mutenyo said overtime Uganda has realized growth in both arrivals and departures, and noted that; increase in arrivals infers increase in demand for tourism related products and services such as transport, souvenirs, accommodation, food, tour guide,” he said.
“Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sector in the world. It is estimated that by the end of year 2020, tourism will be the world’s largest industry. In 2017 total international tourists arrivals grew by 7 per cent reaching 1,326 million people, generating $1,340billion. (The United Nations World Tourism Organization -UNWTO, 2018),” he said.
Dr Mutenyo said growth in tourist by Continent, were as follows: Africa 8.6 per cent, Europe at 8.4 per cent, Asia and the Pacific 5.6 per cent, Americas 4.8 per cent and the Middle East at 4.6 per cent.
Dr Mutenyo further explained that tourism accounted for 7 per cent of world exports, pointing out that tourism stimulates the production of goods and services in a wide range of sectors and sub-sectors representing a value chain, such as: construction, furniture, agriculture, processing and, education, handicrafts, wood carving, textiles, jewellery, transport, telecommunications and financial services. So increase in demand for tourism would lead to growth of all these sub-sectors.
“Tourism benefits both the educated and uneducated, skilled and unskilled, and most of the employees in the tourism sector are the youth and the women, it is a key source of foreign exchange, however, its potential to maximize its benefits has not been fully exploited,” he said.