The tourism industry of uganda has emerged as a vibrant source of foreign exchange, resulting in increased revenues from $100m to $400m over the last five years.
The number of tourists has risen from about 530, recorded in 2004 to one million by 2009, said Cuthbert Baguma, the Uganda Tourism Board executive director.
He was addressing stakeholders of Beyond The Sky Tours and Travel Bureau, a new player exploring the fertile Chinese travel and tour market, at Kampala Serena Hotel last week.
Baguma anticipated an increase in visits by the end of 2010, adding that most tourists from the UK, Germany, Netherlands and South Africa come to see mountain gorillas, lakes, rivers and national parks.
However, he was concerned by the indifference of Ugandans to appreciate the natural endowments in their country.
“Ugandans need to visit the many tourism sites in their midst. If foreigners can come all the way from Europe and Asia to appreciate our country, why not us?” Baguma said.
He pointed to relative peace, aggressive marketing through promotions and trade fairs as the reasons for the increased visitations.
“We recently appointed Moses Kipsiro and Susan Kerunen as goodwill ambassadors to promote the local tourism industry. We believe they will be a key marketing tool for our country,” he said.
While Kipsiro was recognised for bagging two gold medals at the recent Commonwealth games in India, Kerunen, was selected for emerging the best African artiste in 2008 and 2009.
Baguma called for more investment in the hospitality sector.