Uganda’s President Announces Plan to Increase Tourism with More Airfields
President Museveni has said the Ugandan government is determined to build several upcountry airfields that will help not only tourists but travelers in general as one of the ways to boost tourism.
While addressing investors and trade representatives at the annual Trade Representative Forum (TRF) at State House Entebbe organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on Exports and Industrial Development (PACEID), Museveni described Uganda’s climate as the best and most favorable for tourists around the world.
“We used to have problems of lack of peace in the past but that stopped long ago. The only issue is now promotion,” Museveni said.
“I have already told the government that we need to build more airfields near the national parks. This is because some of the rich people don’t have time to come and land at Entebbe and drive 500 miles to Kidepo national park. It’s only small people can manage to do that but the rich people want to come in their private jets, land in the national park and then fly out. So, we shall have to build more hard surface airports in Kidepo, Kasese, Kihiihi, Gulu, etc.”
According to the chairman of Uganda Tourism Board, Daudi Migereko, before the Covid pandemic, tourism was Uganda’s number one foreign exchange earner fetching the country 1.6 million dollars and it had been predicted that Uganda would be among the 10 fastest growing fastest destinations for leisure, travel, and spending between the year 2020 and 2026.
“We need to appreciate the fact that we have already lost time with everything and we must pursue everything with urgency. We are fortunate that ever since the president launched our country’s destination brand in January 2022, our tourism has been getting very good ratings to unprecedented levels. We have received awards and endorsements from international media houses,” Migereko.
Museveni tipped the gathering about the many ways of making money in Uganda especially if one is focused on adding value to the existing raw materials like coffee, milk, cotton, tea, tobacco, fruits, beef, oil seeds, cocoa, bananas, leather, cassava, sugar, etc.
On minerals, the president said the government has already identified investors who are setting up an integrated steel industry for the inland parts of Africa instead of importing steel from other places.
“I think we now have about 4 or 5 factories coming up to produce steel from our good iron ore, phosphates for fertilizers, cement, oil and gas, lithium (we need to produce electric batteries here for electric cars), copper, gold, tin, potassium, etc.”
He praised PACEID for identifying the gaps in export promotion and involving young people.
“The other day I was in the Gulu district and I saw an exhibition by the young people who are engaged in processing all our precious products for the world market and were ready to support them. I would like to advise anybody who wants to work in government to understand this. If you do not understand that Uganda must be business-oriented, then resign from the government.”
The president said that Africa has for long missed out on the global money market with people until recently producing only for home consumption and not for the market. He said the now growing population of Uganda which will be 100 million people in the next 30 years down from the current 43 million is an opportunity for growth.
“Now with the bigger population, competition for economic space increases. You can no longer afford to be laid back because more people now need access to resources. Nobody can compete with us once the people wake up.”
The head of state gave an example of milk which until recently was not among the exports.
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