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New rules for Uganda Tour operators in the offing

Tuesday, 29th March, 2011

THE Government of Uganda is in the process of amending the Uganda Tourism Act to ensure regulation of the tour and travel industry, a top official said last week.

Officiating at the second travel night of The Association of Tour and Travel Agents at the Kampala Serena Hotel, Ambassador Julius Onen, the trade, tourism and industry permanent secretary, indicated that the proposal to amend the Act was raised by the tour and travel operators, who asked for guidelines to streamline their operations.

Onen explained that the Uganda Tourism Act passed two years back, had gaps which called for amendment.

He noted that since the industry handles a lot of money, there was need for controls in terms of credibility and accountability.

Penalties for the agencies that fail to abide with the rules and regulations will also be included in the amendments to the new law. He cited cases where tourists arrive at the airport but find no one to receive them.

“As a result, guests end up stranded since they do not know where to go.

“The new law will help to protect the integrity of the industry,” Onen pointed out.

The permanent secretary, however, acknowledged the need for maximum consultations before any law is presented to Cabinet “because a law which is not owned by the people is useless.”

The amendments to the law are expected to be tabled in Parliament after the swearing-in of the 9th Parliament in May.

Onen disclosed plans to restructure the Uganda Tourism Board to orient it with a specific revenue source.

He said this would enable the board to collect some of its own revenue instead of depending on handouts.

By Petride Mudoola: The Newvision Newspaper

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