By: ismael kasooha
The Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Nabbanja Robinah has urged Ugandans to pursue green investments and promote sustainable use of our resources for the benefit of the present and future generations.
“It is therefore important to pursue green investments in that it will also facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 for our country,” said Nabbanja.
The Premier said that the theme that was chosen by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation for this year’s celebrations, ‘Tourism and Green Investments’ was timely and useful.
“As you are aware, the world is experiencing serious climate change-related disasters such as floods and storms. These disasters have killed thousands of people and destroyed property worth millions of shillings around the world. Our planet is without a doubt very angry with us. We have destroyed the forests and wetlands. ENSI EBIHIRWE. EBITWASANGIREHO TUBISISIRE, a Runyoro statement to emphasize the need to preserve the environment,” said Nabbanja.
She said that a few months ago, H.E. The President banned the exportation of ungraded timber to stop environmental destruction.
“We cannot let all our wetlands and forests from which we get numerous benefits get destroyed. Destroying the environment means destroying our planet and making it unlivable for ourselves. Destroying the environment means destroying the home for our beautiful wildlife and plants. Destroying the environment means destroying one of the major sources of revenue for our country,” Nabbanja noted.
She added that the 3rd National Development Plan identifies tourism as a primary sector in our socio-economic transformation drive.
“I am glad the Ministry plans to make the Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute in Jinja a regional center of excellence to facilitate the development of our tourism sector,” said Nabbanja.
There are numerous investment opportunities in the tourism sector such as hotel construction and those related to new technologies to decarbonize the sector as well as building climate-resilient infrastructure.
Nabbanja lauded the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities for inviting her to preside over the World Tourism Day and their choice of Hoima to host this year’s national celebrations asserting that it was indeed a perfect one because Bunyoro region is blessed with numerous tourist attractions and a rich cultural history.
The figures from the Uganda Tourism Board show that before COVID-19, in 2019, Uganda received over 1.5 million tourists and earned $1.6b from tourism. The sector also created over 1.5 million jobs and contributed 7.7% to our Gross Domestic Product in the same year.
Globally, the figures show that, in 2019, tourism employed one in 10 people. Although the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected our tourism industry, the figures show that the sector is steadily recovering. Over 800,000 tourists visited Uganda in 2022, bringing into our country more than $700m.
Nabbanja encouraged Ugandans to plant more trees so that tourists can enjoy a cool and good environment when they come to Uganda.
“I hope those who have participated in this campaign now appreciate the immense tourism potential of this region. You and everyone here, including our dear exhibitors, are the heroes of the tourism sector,” said Nabbanja.
She lauded development partners for always partnering with Uganda to develop and promote ‘Destination Uganda’.
Nabbanja thanked the people of Bunyoro for protecting the environment by conserving some of our country’s largest game and forest reserves that are located in this region.
She noted that this region now has one of the best road networks in the country.
“These roads have eased access to tourism sites. The ongoing oil development activities are providing more opportunities to develop tourism and agriculture,” she said.
She also said said that the Kabalega International Airport, which is expected to be commissioned before the end of this year was yet another opportunity to grow the tourism industry and other sectors and urged the public to take advantage of these opportunities for socioeconomic transformation.
The Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Col. (Rtd.) Tom Butime said that his Ministry aims at promoting both domestic and international tourism because most Ugandans do not know their country.
“We want to promote domestic tourism so that Ugandans can appreciate the beauty of their country so that they can also market it elsewhere,” said Butime.
Butime said that the NRM government has put in place infrastructure to facilitate tourism in the country and now Tourists can easily access most parts of the country.
He said that the country has registered a rise in the number of tourists compared to previous years and is optimistic that with the continued investment in the sector more tourists will come.
Dr. Joseph Ruyonga, the Hoima West Division Member of Parliament revealed that, Tourism in Bunyoro has been heightened with the discovery of Oil and Gas.
Brian Kaboyo the Hoima City Mayor commended the Ministry of Tourism for considering them to host this year’s event.
Seith Muhumuza, the Corporate Affairs Officer from the Petroleum Authority of Uganda explained that they are inter linking with all sectors like tourism for the growth of the economy.