Community participation good for Tourism Industry | budget gorilla tours

Tourists are drawn to Uganda by the natural beauty, wildlife, warm hospitality offered by the citizens of this East African country and the rich culture that continues to make Uganda a popular tourist destination.

With the knowledge that tourism has the potential to contribute significantly on an ongoing basis to the economy of Uganda, the powers that be need to place emphasis not only to the development of the country’s infrastructure and tourism facilities but also to improve the lives of local people, protect their environment and offer a better future. Long and short term development plans should be developed so that tourism and its benefits are spread within local areas.

For tourism to be developed in a sustainable manner, efforts should be made to ensure enjoyment for the tourist and minimum impact or disruption for the local communities and environment.

Tourism investments are too often imposed from the outside, and the potential for sustainable forms of tourism is weakened. Unless local people begin feeling tourism in their pockets and on their tables, all efforts may be put to waste.

To ensure community involvement and to safeguard local cultures, sustainable tourism development should therefore involve all stakeholders in tourism development at all appropriate levels, facilitate the development of tourism services that are planned, managed and reviewed by the host community, ensure that tourism revenue stays in the host communities so as to enhance livelihoods and generate a profitable source of income.

There is need to also emphasize the use of work with new technology, natural resource management and marketing concepts. Ideally, participatory planning and implementation should be part of the processes. What has often disturbed me is to see that Uganda Wildlife Authority, custodians of all National Parks in Uganda, are the very people that have given this country a raw deal. Cases in point range from the Gorilla Permit monopoly deal, the hunting contract given to a private investor last year among others.

Compiled by
Uganda Tourism Consultant

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