BOOSTING TOURISM: Minister ‘Vacates’ Comfortable office, Semi-permanent in the Field

Once referred to by the British Prime Minister, sick Winston Churchill as Pearl of Africa, look Uganda is the home of natural, cultural and historical sites that are largely under exploited.

The small East African nation is blessed with rich flora, fauna and landscape that dominate the inflow of tourists.

The amazing and unique tourist attraction centers include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which has more than 300 mountain gorillas, approximately half of the world’s population the human resembling animal.

Game and bird viewing are the greatest tourist activities in the country. Wild animals including lions, buffaloes, giraffes, antelopes, elephants are common in Uganda’s ten national parks. The national parks are Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Mount Elgon, Bwindi Impenetrable, Kidepo Valley, Mgahinga Gorilla, Lake Mburo, Kibale, Rwenzori, Semiliki, Kyambura Game Reserve, Kazinga Channel and Lake Bunyonyi.

Uganda is one of only three countries in the world where it is possible to visit the endangered mountain gorillas. The exclusive tree climbing lions are also found in Queen Elizabeth.

When appointed the Minister of State for State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Godfrey Kiwanda appeared at Parliament on the day of vetting with a navy blue necktie punctured with so telling yellow pictures of lions that over shadowed the original color of the small piece of fabric.

The youthful politician deliberately chose the lion print decorated piece not to only show the Members of Parliament on the Appointments Committee that he was ready for the task but he had also earnestly started the assignment to elevate the tourism sector that has all the potentials.

After barely two months in office, on 13th September 2016 Kiwanda announced the introduction of Tulambulule which means tour. The major mission of the initiative which is being run by both Tourism Ministry and Uganda Tourism Board is to promote domestic tourism and expeditions by Ugandans and in the long run develop good environment for foreign tourists.

On 23rd October 2016 Tulambulule was launched in Mbarara district where the Minister and his team toured the 1520 AD Eclipse Hill of Igongo Cultural Centre in Biharwe. Historians and astronomers believed eclipse happened in the area on 17th April 1520 AD. They proceeded to Kitagata Hot Springs and other places.

When contacted on phone on Thursday, Kiwanda said the field needs him as much as the office does and he is ready to juggle between the two.

“My office in Kampala in is important. The field is important too and I have developed the stamina to make sure all the two are taken care of,” Kiwanda said.

Tulambulule drive is happening in the upcountry and the Minister and tourism body officials are always out of their offices in Kampala. The team is also uncovering forgotten and little known tourist attraction potentials like in Lango the spot where the Bunyoro great King Kabalega and Muwanga of Buganda where captured by the British colonialists, has been marked. The two kings who opposed the British colonial rule, fiercely fought and fled to Lango in the present day Kangai sub county in Dokolo district. They were later exiled to Seychelles Island.

According to Kiwanda, Tulambulule has so far made him learn a lot and unexpected in the past two months.

“The drive should have started yesteryear but I am now a very happy man since we launched Tulambulule. I am now knowledgeable about the wonderful and astounding things about our country like in Lango; Amolatar and Kangai in Dokolo are great tourism promising areas,” he said.

The Tulambulule team has also visited Busoga and Acholi sub regions where tourist attraction sites were documented for promotion.

Tourism remains one of the biggest sources of foreign exchange earners in the economy and the government is planning to drastically increase the budget for the sector in the coming years. It is also employing thousands as tour guides, drivers and others.


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