Tourism Sector


Tourism - Rwenzori Mountain climbing

Credit: Photo/Newvision

Size and Structure

Uganda is endowed with a unique Biodiversity. It has 10 national parks, with a variety of rare animals like the mountain guerrillas, and tree climbing lions; shoebill birds and plant species.  Uganda’s snow-capped Renoir Mountains are suited for all year-round hiking and mountaineering. It is also the “Source of the Nile” which has become a hub for adventure sports mainly white water rafting,  bungee jumping, angling, kayaking and sightseeing. The most distinctive of Uganda’s wildlife assets, are the endangered mountain gorillas, of which 360 out of the 600 total worldwide are in Uganda. Other distinctive tourism attractions include chimpanzees, zebras, giraffe, hot springs, and one of the richest African birding species in the world (having recorded over 1200 bird species, or one sixth of the world’s 8000 or so species). 
The tourist sector has enjoyed sustained growth over the last 10 years. It is estimated that the tourism sector earned Uganda US$570 millions in FY2011/12. This is higher than that earned by cash crops sector.

A total of 1,151,356 tourists were registered in 2011 indicating a 21.6% increase from 945,899 in 2010.There was a 36.8% increase in the number of visitors from Europe and a 29% increase in number of visitors from Africa. The majority (52 %) were in the country to visit friends and relatives, followed by those for whom the purpose of visit was not stated (20 %), on businesses (14 %) and on holiday (7 %).

A large number of tourists come by road although the growth in terms of arrivals by air appears to be picking up much faster.

Hotels and Restaurants

Tourists consume a host of goods and services including transport services, hotel and restaurant services, crafts and communication services. Most of  the services are provided by the private sector.

The hospitality industry grew by 20.6% in FY2011/12. Lonely Planet has described Uganda as the world’s top tourist destination for 2012. Hotels and restaurants account for 5 % of the total GDP at current prices.

Contribution Of Hotels And Restaurants


Source: UBOS Statistical Abstract 2012

Uganda’s current tourist products are nature-based and centered on distinct geographic areas. Several of these are linked to national parks, wildlife reserves, forests reserves or specific attractions, and activities such as white water rafting. The nature of attractions include: Eco-Tourism, Cultural Heritage, Faith-Based Tourism, Community Development Tourism and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE).

 

 

Status of Economic Activities

 

Tourist Arrivals
The total arrivals and departures in the country have steadily increased over the 3 year period (2009 – 2011). Tourist arrivals for the year 2011 totalled to 1,151,356 compared to 945,899 in 2010 translating to an increment of about 21.6%. The table shows that the majority of Uganda’s tourists came from Africa.

Tourist Arrivals by Region



Source: Uganda Bureau of Statistics

Visitor Arrivals By Mode Of Transport


Source: Uganda Bureau of Statistics

 

Current Structure of Players In The Sector

 

Tourism Services
Private sector providers of tourist services are - small and fragmented. There are approximately, 162 tour operators and 155 travel agencies operating in Uganda, of which 143 and 151, respectively, were based in Kampala. Local tour operators and travel agents in Uganda play a very small role in being the main distribution platform for tourism products.

Statutory Institutions:

  • The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage
  • Uganda Tourist Board (UTB
  • Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC
  • The Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (HTTI)
  • Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
  • Hotel Owners and Operators’ Association
  • Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO)

 

Demand Drivers And Resource Base Factors:

            Demand Drivers

  • Uganda is 6-7 hours away from major tourist sources in Western Europe by air
  • Ugandans are friendly and welcoming to foreigners
  • Uganda is enjoying an era of sustained social political and economic growth
  • Uganda has a liberal economy with no currency restrictions.
  • Tourists from the EU can obtain Visas on arrival.
  • Government proactive policy to promote tourism

            Resource Base Factors

  • Game reserves
  • Forest reserves
  • Bird sanctuaries
  • Crater lakes with lots of birds
  • Rivers with waterfalls
  • Fresh water lakes
  • Uganda’s cuisine
  • Uganda’s rich and diverse cultures
  • Unique Biodiversity
  • 10 National Parks
  • Snow capped mountains
  • Uganda’s consistent good weather all year round

Uganda’s beeches with white sands 

Trend of the Total Number of Visitors to National Parks (2007-2011)


Source: Uganda Wildlife Authority

 

Trend of Total Tourist Arrivals, 2007-2011


   Source: Uganda Bureau of Statistics

Key Trends

Tourism expenditure and contribution to Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings has more than doubled over the last 6 years as the graph below illustrates.

Tourism Expenditure In The Country

Source: Uganda Bureau of Statistics

Investment Opportunities

There are opportunities to invest in all tourism related subsectors. These include:

  • Partnerships and alliances with international tour operators with access and operation in international markets to expand the network for Uganda’s tourism sector and also bring best practices in this area.
  • Setting up and operating franchised branded 3-4 star international tourist hotels..
  • Budget 2-3 star tourist hotels for the conscious traveller
  • Self Drive Car Hire services
  • Construction of Time Share Holiday homes and Tourists Resorts
  • Developing and running Golf Course and Beachside tourist  holiday homes and apartments
  • Setting up Eco Tourism sites such as hotels and camping sites. 
  • Tourist Services to provide travel and tour operator services
  • Niche travel related websites and Search engines focussed on Uganda and East Africa regional tourist market.
  • Setting up and operating franchised International fast food coffee shops and restaurants brands such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee, McDonalds, Burger King,  Kentucky Fried Chicken and Nandos. Entertainment and leisure canters (Theatres, Cinemas and night life clubs)
  • Boating, anglers and water sports on Uganda’s rivers and lakes
  • High end themed restaurants in Kampala
  • Boat hire services
  • Community based tourism
  • Budget airline services for tourist sector.
  • Cultural Villages
  • Wildlife farms
  • Tourism and hospitality colleges.

 

Sector Specific Licensing Requirements
(Refer to Appendix 3)
Sector Specific Incentives for Investors

  • 20% initial allowance granted in 1st year of use of an industrial building.
  • 5% industrial building allowance
  • Exemption of international trade taxes on hotel equipment.
  • Supply of accommodation in tourist lodges and hotels outside Kampala district are exempt from tax.

 

Useful Addresses and Contacts

Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage
P.O Box 7103, Kampala.
Floors 3, 4, 5 and 6,
Farmers House Plot 6/8,
Parliamentary Avenue
Telephones: +256 41 343947, +256 41 30916 and +256 41 256395,
Fax: +256 41 341247
Website: www.tourism.go.ug

Uganda Tourism Board
42 Windsor Crescent, Kololo P.O. Box 7211,
Kampala, Uganda.
Tel: +256 (414) 342 196/7
Fax: +256 (414) 342 188
Email: utb@tourismuganda.info

 

www.visituganda.com

Uganda Wildlife Authority
Plot 7 Kira Road, Kamwokya. P.O. Box 3530,
Kampala, Uganda. Telephone: +256 414 355000, +256 312 355000 Fax: +256 414 346 291
Email: info@ugandawildlife.org
Website: www.ugandawildlife.org

Uganda Wildlife Education Centre
P.O Box: 369 Entebbe-Uganda, East Africa
Tel: +256 414 320 520, +256 414 322 169/171/172
Fax: +256 414 320 073
E-mail: reservation@uwec.ug, marketing@uwec.ug
http://www.uwec.ug

Hotel and Tourism Training Institute
P.O Box 444, Jinja, Uganda Email: htti_crested@utlonline.co.ug
+256 (0)43 121 954
+256 (0)43 121 515