CNN lists Uganda among top global tourist destinations

Tourists view wildlife at Queen Elizabeth National Park during Easter holidays last year . PHOTO | EDGAR R BATTE

What you need to know:

  • In its article titled, ‘Where to travel in 2023: The best destinations to visit’, CNN cited the country’s expansive shores of Lake Victoria, snowy Rwenzori mountains and healthy wildlife as some of the reasons to travel to the Pearl of Africa.

Multinational Cable News Network (CNN) has named Uganda as one of the great and beautiful places to visit this year.

In its article titled, ‘Where to travel in 2023: The best destinations to visit’, CNN cited the country’s expansive shores of Lake Victoria, snowy Rwenzori mountains and healthy wildlife as some of the reasons to travel to the Pearl of Africa.

“Uganda is a beautiful wilderness playground, with opportunities for adventure, including treks through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or up to the craters of the Virunga volcano chain or white water rafting along the Victoria Nile,” CNN states.

Dr Joshua Rukundo, the executive director of Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust, welcomed the news.

“Recognition by CNN of Uganda as one of the top destinations is huge, especially at this time when travel continues to improve post-Covid. Developed economies are facing economic depression and travellers are going to be more selective about the places they would choose to visit,” Dr Rukundo says.

He adds: “Uganda has always been a beautiful place for tourists with its diverse wildlife, landscapes, art, food, culture, and its people. We should leverage this endorsement to promote our attractions, not only for tourism but also for business opportunities and investment. We expect to continue to see growth in the sector and hopefully, this will spur more development and investment.”

Mr Sam Mwandha, the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA),  also appreciated the international recognition, saying more clients will be able to check out the country.

He urged the government and the private sector to work together to improve the tourism service delivery and infrastructure so as to promote the sector.

The Uganda Tourism Board chief executive director,  Ms Lilly Ajarova, says the news reinforces the fact that the country is gifted beyond measure.

“It is a call for both Ugandans and International guests to explore Uganda, the Pearl of Africa because what to see and enjoy is simply diverse,” Ms Ajarova says.

“It can only be equated on the global destination map. Uganda’s variety of attractions are not only limited to wildlife but other aspects like culture and heritage, sceneries, food and a lot more,” she adds.

The Private Sector Foundation Uganda’s chief of programmes officer,  Ms Damali Ssali, says the publicity will expose the country to its unexplored tourism opportunities such as food.

“For example, we are a culinary country with a very diversified variety of indigenous foods whose preparation is founded in traditional cultures that go back hundreds of years,” Ms Ssali says.

She also cites the good tropical weather as ideal for those who seek a beautiful holiday destination.

“Uganda will win the bet anytime of the year. We still have the large game, if you want a safari, you will not find a friendlier country anywhere like Uganda,”  Ms Ssali says.

According to Ms Doreen Nansamba, the general manager of Travelport, now is the opportunity to reinvent the tourism image and sell the country.

“Uganda mentioned among the top 23 destinations to travel to in 2023 gives the tourism stakeholders an opportunity to showcase the various activities that we have as a destination,” Ms Nansamba says.

She adds that the opportunity to proactively market the activities beyond the borders is being recognised to have a unique set of niche tourism.

Mr Dancan Kiiza, the managing director of Signature Africa Safaris Limited, notes that Uganda gets yet another great opportunity for exposure to more than 450 million households across the globe who follow CNN.

“The listing of Uganda as a tourist destination in 2023 is well deserved. Guests experience everything Africa has to offer because of its diversity with some elements being unique to it,” he says.

CNN also states that Uganda is looking beyond the traditional staples of safari and wildlife spotting to appeal to both regional and international visitors.

“Keen to revitalise post-Covid tourism in all corners of the country, not just the big-ticket businesses offering wealthy visitors a glimpse of the big five beasts or mountain gorillas, it’s turned to marketing its other attributes,” it states.

Uganda has 165 lakes on which tourists can take sunrise and sunset cruises as well as sport fishing and canoe rides, 506 central forest reserves of rich biodiversity, in which one can take therapeutic nature walks, birding, butterfly and chimpanzee expeditions.

The country is home to more than 400 sought-after Mountain Gorillas, the big African elephants, lions, leopards, African buffalos, and rhinoceros.

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