By Edwin Muhumuza
Kampala, Uganda. February 2, 2019. In another operation with the aid of Tourism Police, Mr. Didan Atukunda from Mamba Gorilla Safari has been arrested for declining to pay back an erroneous payment made by a tourist.
Mr. Atukunda was arrested in a bar in Kabale at 2am by the Tourism Police Regional commandant- Kigezi region, ASP Tinka Emmanuel. The tourist erroneously paid $30.000 instead of $3000 for a trip to trek Gorillas and Mr. Atukunda declined to make the $27,000 refund; forcing the tourist to contact the Uganda Tourism Board. Prior attempts by UTB to discuss and agree to a payment plan between Mr. Atukunda and the touris proved futile leading to the involvement of Tourism Police in a crackdown for Mr. Atukunda’s arrest.
He is currently enroute Kampala from Kabale and will be detained at Jinja Road police station awaiting hearing.
The Uganda Tourism Board through its Quality Assurance department is taking strong interventions to curb crime in the sector.
According to the UTB, Quality Assurance Manager Mr. Samora Semakula, UTB has set up a Tourism security committee consisting of Tourism Police, MTWA and representation from the Association of Uganda Tour Operators with the let aim of tactfully handling fraud and any cases reported by tourists.
Tourism is Uganda’s number one foreign exchange earner. We can not continue to let rogue operators destabilise the growth that we are seeing in the sector. Most importantly we want tourists to enjoy their stay in Uganda. Our role is to ensure quality standards are met in the sector.” Mr.Semakula said.
This brings the number of rogue your operators so far arrested this year to two. In a separate operation, Tourism Police and UTB cracked down and arrested Mr. Mugerwa Ahebwa who
defrauded American tourists of over $18,000. He is currently detained at Jinja Road police station awaiting hearing.
“We shall continue to crackdown rogue operators,”Mr. Semakula reinforces . The tourism industry currently contributes 10 per cent to gross domestic product, making it Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner. The industry contributes more than $1.4b (Shs5.1 trillion) annually and is projected to earn about Shs10 trillion ($2.7b) by 2020.
About the Uganda Tourism Board
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) is a statutory organisation established in 1994. Its role and mandate was reviewed in the Tourism Act of 2008. The Board's mandate is to promote and market Uganda across the region and internationally, promote quality assurance in tourist facilities through training, grading and classification, promote tourism investment, support and act as liaison for the private sector in tourism development. The broader goals of the Board are to increase the contribution of tourism earnings and GDP; improve Uganda’s competitiveness as an international tourism destination; and increase Uganda's share of Africa's and World tourism market. UTB aims to create inclusive opportunities for the tourism sector through market transformation.