Hon Matia Kassaija earlier today said government was to allocate more money for tourism. Minister Kasaija says that he has allocated sh188.8 billion to the tourism sector next financial year, up from sh158.5 billion in the previous one.

This is after he talks of the sector’s potential and challenges.

“Tourism adds US$ 2.5 billion to our GDP and approximately USD 1.5 billion in foreign exchange earnings annually. This translates to 9% of national output and 26% of export earnings. In the recent past, Uganda has hosted several tourism promoting events including the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis last November, and the Barcelona Football Club legends to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Murchison Falls National Parks. These events, among others, have for sure boosted Uganda’s international image.”

But despite these developments, the tourism sector “still faces serious challenges. Uganda ranks low in terms of leisure and holiday visitors, as a result of weak targeted destination marketing. At a regional level, security threats and disease outbreaks such as Marburg, lead to negative media and adverse travel advisories”.

My take: Hon Kassaija I thank u and government for the thought & increase however so long as we still have Visa Fees up there and not in harmony with our neighbours, so long as 18% VAT on up country hotels still stands and so long as we still have #IvoryMafia masquerading within.so long as we don’t learn how to prioritise ….it’s as good as writing on water.

The writer is a tour operator managing Africa Gorillas Treks and Safaris. He also runs a tourism promotions website