By Edwin Muhumuza
President Museveni has told tourism stakeholders to take advantage of the peace and stability the country is enjoying to realize high revenue returns from tourism. This during his speech to the delegates attending the 5th Pearl Of Africa Tourism Expo at Speke Resort Munyonyo .
The expo, is running under the theme, ‘Promoting Intra-Africa Travel’ in a bid to raise awareness about the untapped potential presented by emerging African travel markets.
The president noted that the government had restored Uganda Airlines to attract tourists to Uganda through the many planned direct routes where, tourists and business people alike will have faster and more affordable travel to the pearl, making Uganda a competitive destination.
The 5th Annual Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo (POATE) 2020, running for three days pits business to business and business to customer engagements amongst key Ugandan and regional tourism players with selected tourism wholesalers from Africa and other overseas tourism markets.
Museveni also commended UTB for the intra-African outlook saying that it was time to focus on intra-African business owing to the big market of 1.2 billion people .
The minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Col(rtd) Tom Butime said that Uganda offers, probably one of most abundant investment incentive regimes in the sector including Start-up costs spread over the 4 years ,25% per annum, Scientific research expenditure at 100%,Training expenditure of 100% ,Initial allowance on hotel buildings at 20% ,Subsidized land to investors in the 4 priority sector s (ICT, Agro-processing, Tourism & Minerals processing); Exempt of Motor vehicles for transport of tourist of which have to be specially designed and built for transportation of tourists, Stamp duty exemption on instruments for mobilizing funds for tourism development and 100% profit repatriation.
Over 57 international hosted buyers, 140 domestic and regional tourism operators as well as international and domestic media are in the country to market destination Uganda, courtesy of the ministry of Tourism.
In his address to them, Tourism State Minister ,Kiwanda Ssubi said, “You have another home called Uganda and that the destinations that we want you. Do not sell Uganda to only Egyptians, Tanzanians or Zimbabweans. You are selling Uganda to whoever comes to your destination, please add the pearl of Africa on your menu.’’
Speaking on behalf of the private sector, the President, Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) Mrs Pearl Hoareau Kakooza, called upon government to invest more in industry capacity building, new product development, capital investments and facilitating access to affordable financing adding that access to more affordable financing would translate into a broader tax base and by extension, more tax revenue.
Lilly Ajarova, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) told the delegates that Uganda was full of abundant tourism opportunities characterized by the richest tourism attractions portfolio, best value for money for investors and tourists alike and therefore healthy returns on investment.
“We have the richest and most diverse range of human, natural, cultural, religious and historical attractions complemented by a warm tropical climate, warm people, great accommodations and great food, she said.
During the event the Uganda Tourism Board signed a memorandum of understanding with Uganda airlines.