Essential Government of Uganda policies likely to affect your Tourism Business

On this page we shall walk you through the relevant Government of Uganda Strategies and Regulations which you need to comply with while establishing your tourism business in Uganda.

We have tried to sort out for you the most important portions to save you valuable planning time. However, for reference purposes, you can download and read through some of the complete legislative documents.

The infomation on this page will also help you to realistically estimate your licensing fees as you draw your Tourism business start-up costs.

We let you familiarize yourself with the most important Tourism Business licensing procedures in Uganda, so that you can save on business Consulation fees and valuable time when executing your African Tourism Business Idea.

If you're just a cautious African Tourist, this information will help you evaluate the credibility of your prospective Tour Operator. For example, before you make an advance payment on your African Tour package, request your Uganda Tour Operator to send you scanned copies of her Certificate of Registration with the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) and her Tour Operators License from the Uganda Ministry of Tourism.

Government of Uganda Tourism Policy

Investment in the tourism sector in Uganda is guided by a number of policies, of which the most important are discussed briefly below.

The major regulations and legislation governing the tourism industry include:

In addition, the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry has published operational guidelines for tour and travel operators and travel agents, 1995, which set strict regulations to be adhered to by travel and tour operators.

These regulations aim at standardizing and harmonizing the activities of various actors in the tourism industry. Some of the aspects considered under these regulations include:

  • Location,
  • Staff and qualifications,
  • Capital requirements, and
  • Annual licensing fees.

Government of Uganda Investment Procedures

The tourism sector is subject to the same general licensing procedures that relate to any business operation in Uganda. However, depending on your specific tourism activity, you will need additional special licenses from the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, as you will find out shortly.

In order to license you project in the tourism industry, will go through the following stages as an Investor:

  • You will need to Register your Company with the Registrar of Companies
  • Apply for an Investment License from the Government of Uganda Investment Authority
  • Open your office, recruit staff, and acquire equipment in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, as we have discussed below.
  • Apply for the applicable License, attaching certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association.
  • You will then wait for the inspection team from the Ministry of Tourism to visit your office premises, after which the Tourism Licensing Committee shall sit to consider your application and award you the license or not.

The Integrated Tourism Development Master Plan

In 1992, the Government of Uganda launched the Integrated Tourism Development Master Plan, a policy document that is supposed to define the role of Government and other stakeholders in the development of tourism. The Master Plan provided for a number of actions both at institutional and operational level. An inter-ministerial committee was set up to coordinate Governmental interventions that were defined in the plan. The key actions set out in the Master Plan include:

  • Setting up of the Uganda Tourist Board to promote the tourism industry of Uganda both in and outside the country.

  • Setting up of the Uganda Wildlife Authority to conserve the wildlife and other resource of natural scenic and scientific value in those areas under its jurisdiction. The Uganda Wildlife Authority is a merger of Uganda National Parks and the Game Department.

  • Formation of the Wildlife Training College

  • Restructuring of the Ministry

  • Setting up of the Hotel and Tourism Training Institute.

Privatization Policy

Since 1991, the Government of Uganda has been committed to a policy of liberalization. Both the Current and Capital Accounts were fully liberalized in 1993, and 1997 respectively.

The Government of Uganda strategy is to modernize the economy through relying on markets and the efforts of private investors as the basis for efficient and productive economic activity, while government itself provides the necessary legal and policy framework and physical infrastructure for private investment to flourish.

The Uganda Government launched its privatization program in 1993, under which most government owned enterprises were to be privatized including all hotels and tourist facilities. In line with this strategy, The Government of Uganda has divested its interests in all hotel and related facilities. Currently, 90% of all accommodation facilities in Uganda are owned by the private sector.

License required for a Tour Operations Business

You will need a Tour Operator’s License to start your Tour Operator Business.

The Annual Licensing Fee is not more than US$50. As a Tour operator you will be required to complete the Schedule 2 application form, which you can obtained from the Government of Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.

Attached to the application should be:

  • The memorandum and articles of association of the company
  • Details of the vehicles to be used
  • A copy of the trading license, and
  • Proof of membership in the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).

Once the Ministry has received your application, your premises will be inspected to examine their attractiveness and accessibility.

Below are some of the issued Operational Guidelines, which your tourism businesses is expected to comply with:

  • A model staff structure including managing director, tour manager,reservations officer, accounts officer, secretary, at least twotrained guides, and at least two skilled drivers. Minimum staff qualifications for each of the above positions are detailed in the guidelines.

  • All vehicles intended for tour operations must be registered with the Ministry and should preferably have sliding roofs.

  • Each operating company should have a minimum share capital of not less than US$10,000.

License required for a Travel Agents business

You will need a Travel Agent's License to operate your Travel Agent business in Uganda. The annual Licensing Fee is not more than US$30.

If a firm operates both as a tour operator and travel agent,the fee is double and would normally not exceed US$60 annually.

The application process for travel agents is similar to that for tour operators.

You will fill the same form and you should provide the same attachments, including:

  • The memorandum and articles of association of the company
  • Details of the vehicles to be used
  • a copy of the trading license, and
  • Proof of membership in the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).

Once the application has been submitted, a Ministry official will visit the office.

Your Operational guidelines include:

  • The model staff structure which should consist of a managing director,reservations/ ticket officer, accounts manager, and office messenger.

  • Each travel agent must have one vehicle for administrative duties,which should be clearly marked with the company’s name.

  • Each travel agent should have a minimum authorized capital of not less than US$50,000.

  • All travel agents are required to be members of The Association of Uganda Travel Agents (TUGATA).

License Required for a Game Ranching Business

You will need a Uganda Game Ranching License to start your Game Ranching Business.

Because hunting of any kind is banned in Uganda, you will need special approval to conduct any game ranch activities.

The guidelines for licensing these activities are still being established. At present, there is no set application form, process or fee.

The fees and conditions are negotiable directly with the Government of Uganda Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.

Licenses required for a Hotel Business

You will need a Hotel License and a Hotel Manager's License to operate your Uganda Hotel Business.

The Hotel License is a warded at an annual fee levied based on the number of rooms and grade of Hotel. The licenses a valid for one year and universally expire on 31st December.

The Hotel License Requirements:

  • Your hotel Managers, local or Foreign must be registered with the Government of Uganda Ministry of Tourism.
  • Your Hotel Manager will have to complete an Application for License or a Renewal of License to Manage a Hotel.
  • Your manager will have to provide proof of qualifications and also pay a minimal annual fee.

License required for National Park Concessions

You will need a Concession License to operate a Uganda National Park concession.

The Licensing fee will vary depending on the size and type of facility you plan to establish.

You will also pay annual fees starting at US$2000,in additon, you will be required to pay a percentage of your revenues, typically five percent (5%) of the gross profits to the government, however, the actual amount payable is negotiable.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority is responsible for granting hotel and lodge concessions in protected areas such as national parks.

To obtain a concession in a protected area, you, the potential investor, must make a request by letter to the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Before you can be granted this license, you will have to conduct the following tasks:

  • A detailed feasibility study,
  • Architectural and engineering plans,and
  • An environmental impact assessment.

You will be expected to begin Construction works within one year of issuance of this license.

For more information about Investing in Uganda Tourism, Click here...


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