Tourists should fly straight to National Parks, says Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has called upon the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife along with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to improve their promotion of Uganda’s tourism potential.
President Museveni made the call on Friday at Paraa ranger training school in Purongo Sub County, Nwoya district where he passed out 487 recruits as game rangers.
“The promotion of Uganda’s potential in wildlife has been poor. Countries that have nothing to show are getting more tourists than Uganda. The Ministry of Tourism and UWA should bring out the uniqueness of Uganda in their promotion of the tourism sector,” Museveni said.
To improve the promotion of the tourism sector, President Museveni said that there is need for better packaging of the uniqueness of tourism sector of Uganda and planning.
“We need to systematically work on the roads of the national parks for the tourists to easily access the parks in comfort,” Museveni said.
The President also proposed that when the national airline is restored, tourists coming to visit the game parks should not go through Entebbe but land in Gulu and Soroti.
He, however, commended the work done by UWA in building manpower to protect the game parks and reserves noting that “lawlessness in the parks has been going down in the past 30 years.”
During the pass out ceremony, the recruits demonstrated marksmanship to the Commander-in-Chief in target, crossfire and tactical shooting. The rangers also showcased equipment captured from poachers in the national parks that included spears, wire sneers, metal traps and foot traps.
The President presented gifts to the best students namely Lawrence Kajura who was the best overall student, Emmanuel Wafula who was best in academics, Ronald Nkudu who was best in field practice, Dedad Galabuzzi the best disciplined male while Ruth Mapiri Tibeita the best disciplined female student.
State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda told Museveni that roads to National Parks such as Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks, and the promotion of wildlife, as some of the the challenges affecting the tourism sector in the country.
He said with the improvement of the infrastructure, the number of tourists visiting Uganda would increase from 2 million annually to about 4 million.
The rangers underwent a four-month-training in minor tactics, leadership, skills at arms, first aid, basic intelligence, community conservation concepts and offences and penalties related wildlife among others.
Speaking at the function, UWA Executive Director, Samuel John Mwanda, said the rangers’ course was important for the tourism sector to continue earning revenue for the country.
According to the Uganda Tourism Board, tourism contributed $1.4bn (Shs 5.1trillion) which translates into 10% of the Gross Domestic Product.
“We are going to procure helicopters in the next financial year to assist in the transfer of animals and to patrol game reserves to prevent poachers from killing the animals,” Mawanda said.
President Museveni handed over cheques totaling Shs 1.9bn from UWA to the leaders of the 6 districts neighboring Murchison Falls National Parks.
The President also contributed Shs 100m to the UWA SACCO.