Uganda has announced plans to introduce “marine tourism” to its list of core sightseeing marvels after the US government offered $6 million (Shs12b) to support the thriving sector over the next five years.
Mr Muzahura Edwin, Uganda Tourism Board’s public relations officer, said that they intend to start with purpose-tailored marketing of tourism treasures on Lake Victoria – the world’s second largest freshwater body.
“We have rapid waterfalls and sites for water-rafting. That’s why we want to introduce marine tourism which the Americans suggested and are willing to support,” he said after a meeting on Thursday with US Ambassador Jerry Lanier.
The meeting was at Mweya Safari Lodge in Queen Elizabeth National Park to launch United States Agency for International Development’s Shs12 billion domestic tourism campaigns, the US Mission in Kampala announced.
The campaign will raise awareness among Ugandans about the importance of their nation’s natural heritage and the need to improve conservation efforts.
It will also encourage tour operators, hotel owners, and others in the tourism value chain to promote reasonably priced facilities to tourists in Uganda as a means to ensure long-term economic growth in Uganda’s tourism industry.
From the Tourism Industry, last year Uganda got $746m (Shs1.5 trillion) from 842, 000 tourists, most of them foreigners, and the sector is the fastest growing at 8 per cent this year.
The USAID programmer will focus on the Albertine region and promote conservation and increase shared profits with rural Ugandans who shoulder conservation costs, the embassy said. “Sharing these benefits is the best way to build a local constituency to support wildlife conservation, which is the tourism resource base for Uganda’s future generations.”