Uganda registered 1.2 million tourists last year, which the World Bank and the government officials say shows the country’s tourism industry is steadily growing. The study conducted in 2012 by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the World Bank and Department for International Development was released on Thursday in Kampala.
The development has contributed $1b (about Shs 2.5b) which is about 5.6 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
The study indicates that the number of tourists who visited Uganda has been growing in the last two years. In 2010, the country attracted 946,000 tourists while in 2011, the number of tourists increased to 1.1m and 1.2m last year.
The survey also found that 32 per cent of foreign visitors and tourists came for business reasons, 11 per cent for conference, 17 per cent for leisure, 20 per cent for visiting friends and family, 5 per cent for spiritual/ religious purposes, and two per cent for cultural tourism.
However, the report recommended that the country should attract more tourists through strong marketing and persuading tourists to spend more money to grow the economy. “Policy simulations show that attracting extra 100,000 tourists to Uganda would add 11 per cent to exports and 1.6 per cent to GDP, which would further boost the country’s efforts to reduce poverty and boosts its development prospects,” Mr Kirk Hamilton, the lead economist at the World Bank and the key author of the report, said.
The study also mainly recommends investing in natural assets and managing national parks, improving road and transport access to areas of high tourist interest, along with other infrastructure services, increasing supply or tourism services through private investment.