MPs Criticise UTB Officials For Failing To Market Uganda

3891 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Dokolo county MP Felix Okot Ogong criticised Uganda Tourism Board officials for presenting the same challenges to the committee every year without providing any solutions.

Members of Parliament have today lashed out at the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) for what they called failure to promote Uganda as a tourist destination.

UTB officials led by the Chief Executive Officer Stephen Asiimwe and Head of marketing Edwin Muzahura had appeared before parliament's committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry to make a presentation on activities and strategies being undertaken by the board.
Asiimwe told the committee that the board has to operate within a budget of only 11.4 billion Shillings which money he said is inadequate to execute its plans.
He noted that the board needs to carry out training exercises for tour operators, guides and hospitality staff across the country as well as continue with marketing Uganda abroad through foreign public relation agencies.
Asiimwe also criticized the continued levy of 18 percent Value Added Tax on hotels upcountry.
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However, some MPs on the committee dismissed the presentation as merely cosmetic without containing a concrete and viable strategy to increase tourism revenue.
The legislators insisted that funding was not the major setback dogging the board. Moses Balyeku, the Jinja Municipality West MP, told UTB officials to be more enterprising and bring in more money to the country.
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Also Dokolo county MP Felix Okot Ogong criticized the board for presenting the same challenges to the committee every year without executing any solutions.
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But Asiimwe insisted that Uganda had the best tourism master plan on the continent and stressed that the sector had the potential to fund the nation's entire budget.
He however noted that there needed to be a fundamental shift in priorities and attitudes as far as tourism is concerned.
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In the 2014/2015 financial year, the contribution of tourism to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased to 6.3 billion shillings up from 5.6 billion the previous year. 


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.