Uganda’s new strategic direction recognizes Tourism as one of the key growth opportunities to be enhanced alongside Agriculture, Minerals, Oil & Gas and Knowledge. Uganda’s tourism sector holds a huge potential for sustainable growth and development due to its diverse nature based, faith based, culture and heritage, and eco-tourism attractions. It remains one of the best performing sectors under service exports. In 2018 in particular, the sector accounted for 7.7 percent of the national GDP generating US$ 1.6 billion in forex earnings compared to US$ 1.45 billion in 2017. Employment levels stood at 667,600 jobs accounting for about 6.7 percent of total national employment. It is against this background that the NDP III presents Tourism as a key growth opportunity with a high potential to generate even more employment opportunities and have a positive multiplier effect.
The country is presented with numerous tourism opportunities to stimulate economic growth and earning significant revenues from strengthening primary, secondary and tertiary tourism industries. Despite the constant improving performance, tourism is characterized by inadequacies to initiate meaningful tourism development that include; challenges of poor tourism infrastructure, continued environmental degradation, poor airline connections and low brand recognition among others.
The Government strategic direction towards harnessing the tourism potential during the NDP III period will be; to have a hybrid of both elite and mass tourism that will focus on tourism skills, increased tourism infrastructure especially in the least tapped areas, branding and marketing of Uganda. To achieve this direction, government employed the programme based approach among which is the Tourism Development Programme. The goal of this programme is to increase Uganda’s attractiveness as a preferred tourism destination. In order to achieve government’s strategic direction and address the above mentioned constraints, the programme is addressing itself through the following objectives:
· Promote domestic and inbound tourism;
· Increase the stock and quality of tourism infrastructure;
· Improve, develop and diversify tourism products and services; and
· Develop a pool of skilled personnel along the tourism value chain.
The expected results of this programme include; doubling or tripling the number of tourist arrivals and revenues as well as employment in the tourism sector