The Government of Uganda is eager to expand its promising tourism sector, which has become the country’s number one earner of foreign exchange and a significant source of employment. At the request of the government, the International Growth Centre prepared a paper in 2018 entitled How can tourism become a driver of economic growth in Uganda which was presented at the 2018 Economic Growth Forum and National Budget Conference. This paper emphasised the potential for further development of tourism, notably based on wildlife. It identified various issues that need to be addressed, including closer collaboration with the private sector.
The Government has now requested a follow-up study devoted to product development in order to clarify what areas to emphasise in their policies, marketing, and investments. The researchers will spend a week in Uganda conducting interviews with various stakeholders, and follow up with calls to tour operators in key overseas markets.
The study will focus on the various forms of leisure tourism in Uganda, including:
- gorilla trekking
- game safaris
- mountain climbing
- adventure tourism
- cultural and religious visit
- meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE)
Different formats will also be examined:
- luxury excursions
- budget overland camping packages
- regional East African circuits
- exclusive Uganda tours
An attempt will be made to rank the different options in terms of their relative economic profitability from society’s perspective, though it will be difficult to make precise calculations. It is important to assess the level of demand for different types of tourism so the extent of choices available to Uganda can be determined.
To accomplish this challenging task, it will be essential to touch base with as many of the key private sector actors as possible. The team will need to interview the key tour operators present in Uganda, as well as some of those based overseas. They will also contact the main investors in hotels catering to leisure tourists, both existing hotels and some of the new ones being proposed. The study team will also meet with officials in the Ministry of Tourism, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Uganda Tourism Board.