Loopholes Identified in Uganda’s Toursism Master Plan – Uganda Safari News
Few days have passed since the Uganda’s Tourism Master Plan was released for the period 2014/2015 but it’s unfortunate that it has been received by a range of players including those that package safari tours in Uganda with doubt.
The master plan whose aim is to set a guideline through the Uganda’s tourism development can follow is a powerful instrument ideal for any destination if it is to achieve sustainable tourism development.
However for Uganda’s case, the attempt by the government (Ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities) to come up with a ten (10) year master plan to guide the country’s tourism development and ensure the thriving of Uganda safari holidays including gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda and Uganda wildlife safaris among others has received skepticism from various players particularly from the private sector which at times is considered to be the back borne of the tourism sector.
The players argue that there has been a mismatch between the master plan’s ideas and the reality on ground.
The local tour operator named Kelley Mac Tavish-Mungar noted that the master plan was drafted by technocrats who lacked detailed knowledge of what is actually on ground of Uganda’s tourism sector.
The operator further noted that the people who drafted it did not consult the private sector widely arguing that the government brings people from outside the country and they talk to ten people and go back thinking that he is an expert.
The master plan that was put together by the team from United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) spearheaded by Roger Goodacre and Dr Harsh Varma, with funding from government, UNWTO and UNDP has not only faced doubt from Mungar alone but also the president of Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) the crown of the private sector bodies in the tourism sector Mr. Herbert Byaruhanga doubted the 300 paged document noting that it is too wide and lacks in depth on specific issues.
For example the plan mentions about the regional tourism clusters but it does not show how these clusters will be managed noting that these clusters are politically stirred and once the lead politicians lose their positions, the clusters might collapse.
These clusters been recognized to have a lead role in increasing Uganda safari tour products in the country.
Goeffrey Baluku also noted that Uganda is endowed with a range of tour products that would increase safari holidays to Uganda however it’s like the country is not sure of what unique attraction to capitalize on in order to position its self in the tourism market.
The possibilities would be; Primate capital which form the ground for Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda and gorilla tracking safaris in Uganda; Africa’s bird sanctuary as it constitutes 1,058 species of birds which represent 11% of the global species and 50% of Africa’s bird species or Source of the Nile.
Baluku noted that the master plan does not show the attempts to position the country.
However, according to the Principal tourism officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Vivian Lyazi, the tourism master plan highlights a marketing strategy that will be followed in phases so as to tap into markets effectively.
The first phase will feature what the country has achieved by concentrating on the current markets and work towards expanding these markets’ segments.
The second phase will concentrate on expanding and diversifying by consolidating the old markets and tap into new markets while the third phase will put emphasis on year-to-year target marketing interventions in order to incorporate new markets that may not have been tapped or well honored.
This is seen as a move that would increase travellers that undertake Uganda safari tours.
The master plan also highlights the endeavor to partition the country into Tourism Development Areas (TDAs) in order to use the broad tourism resources that can be encountered on safari in Uganda.
These clusters include; Central TDA which includes Kampala, Entebbe, Ssese islands and Mabira forest. The south-western TDA includes; Lake Mburo and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
The north-western TDA includes; Murchison Falls national park, Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves and Lake Albert.
The western TDA includes; Queen Elizabeth, Semliki and Mountain Rwenzori national parks, Kigezi, Katonga, Kyambura, and Toro Semliki wildlife reserves.
The northeastern TDA includes; Kidepo valley national park, Matheniko and Bokora wildlife reserves. The southeastern TDA includes; Jinja, Mount Elgon national park, Pian Upe wildlife reserve and a section of Victoria Nile.
The regional tourist office will be set up in each of these TDAs to help the local stakeholders in planning and implementing the set plans.
After achieving all these proposals, the Uganda’s tourism master plan projects an increase in foreign receipts to $1.4bn per annum and to create additional 150,000 tourism jobs by 2015.
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