‘For magnificence, for variety of form and colour, for profusion of brilliant life – plant, bird, insect, reptile, beast – for vast scale… Uganda is truly the pearl of Africa’ were the words used by Sir Winston Churchill, in his book “My African Journey” to describe the beautiful tourist attractions of Uganda. Therefore, Uganda is no ordinary safari destination but an experience worthy living.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. This impossibly lush country offers one a unique opportunity to observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippopotamus and crocodiles before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla. Uganda – with its unique blend of savannah and forest creatures, its rare wealth of mountain and lake habitats – is simply dazzling. Uganda’s offers the most stunning scenery on the continent that includes sparkling lakes, lofty mountains, mysterious forests and game parks swarming with game. The private sector is encouraged to set up new tourist facilities in these locations bearing in mind the need to blend in with the contiguous scenery. Uganda’s eco-friendliness is attested to by the recent mushrooming of community-based eco-tourism projects at the grassroots level.
Uganda’s reputation as ‘Africa’s Friendliest Country’ stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. The country’s population is united in providing a warm welcome to foreign guests, so even in the smallest of villages local people will go out of their way to make tourists feel at home.
Despite all the glamour outlined about, Uganda is a relatively newcomer to today’s international tourism scene, which has benefited both the country’s natural environment and the tourism experience it offers. The country has avoided the trap of courting the mass market and instead has followed the path of eco-tourism, which ensures that any growth in the visitor numbers is sustainable and that development is not detrimental to Uganda’s natural environment and local culture.
This profile is intended to provide the potential investor with an overview of Uganda’s tourism sector, the existing attractions, Government plans and policy for the sector, the level of exploitation and the potential investment opportunities that exist. The information provided therein may not be entirely exhaustive, additional sources have been provided under useful contacts for further reference.
2. Key Services in the sector
It is estimated that Uganda has a total of approximately 1300 registered establishments offering accommodation. These establishments have approximately 20,000 rooms with close to 30,000 beds. It suffices to note that Uganda’s average room occupancy rates for 2009 were 29.9%; In other words, on average 29.9% of the rooms are occupied every month. While the average room rate was US$11 per bed per night (for all establishments), thus the total earned revenue was estimated to be US$15m that year. The 2009 bed space utilization on the other hand is estimated at 25%, implying that since 2005 room and bed space utilization has been below 50%.
Of these 1300 establishments, approximately 600 are in the tourism-centric districts with about 80 being used by international tourists or foreign residents and most of them are located in Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja. These establishments have a high average room rate and occupancy rate of US$44 and 26% respectively which is four-fold high than national average room rate and double the national average occupancy rate. The occupancy rate for the tourist standard hotels and lodges is highest in Kampala, averaging 45% compared to 22% for all other focal areas.
Uganda has limited ‘high end’ accommodation along the basic tourists’ circuit of Murchison, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, and Bwindi, which has 400 rooms of 2-star plus range for a daily tourist population of about 700 and 1-star range camping site for 1600 tourists. Thus making Uganda a ‘low-end’ tourist destination and being dominated by ‘backpackers’ and ‘overlanders’. The low share of foreign non-African hotel ownership in Uganda compared to Kenya and Tanzania (Table 1) can be attributed to this. However, of late there have been significant foreign investments in the hotel industry namely Serena Hotel, the Green Wilderness Group (Semliki Safari Lodge) and Emin Pasha Hotel.
Table 1: Percentage capital ownership of hotels in East Africa
2.2 Air Transport
According to DTIS, Uganda’s annual capacity of incoming international seats in 2005 from four airlines (British Airways, Emirates, SN Brussels and KLM) is 110,000, when compared to approximately 3.5m incoming seats to Nairobi via 21 international airlines, is very low. However, this annual capacity has been enhanced greatly via twelve airlines now operating scheduled international flights, which signifies increased demand and confidence. Including airlines operating through major regional hubs (Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cairo and Dar es Salaam), total capacity is 249,000 incoming seats per annum. Refer to Annex 7 for key players. The Figure 1 below, reveals that there was a continuous increase in the number of non-resident visitor arrivals through Entebbe Airport since 2005. Although there was 24 percent decline in 2009 compared to 2008.
Figure 1: Non-resident Tourist arrivals through Entebbe Airport (000’s)
Total arrivals in 2009 (from both international and regional flights) at Entebbe International Airport were 271,000, which was approximately 33.6 percent of 807,000 the total non-resident tourist arrivals in Uganda (Figure 2). However it should be noted that there a decline of 4.4 percent in 2009 of total non-resident tourist arrivals as compared to 2008. In regard to the arrivals through Entebbe Airport, there was a high decline of 24 percent compared to 2008. The Entebbe route runs between 70 and 100 percent full and there is a real supply constraint during the peak holiday periods. The fourth airline will ease this somewhat, but there is still scope for expanding the supply of seats.
Figure 2: Total Non-resident Visitor arrivals in Uganda (000’s)
2.3 Tourism services
Travel agents and tour operators (including car hire companies) are key service providers in the tourism trade. There are approximately, 162 tour operators and 151 travel agencies operating in Uganda, of which 143 and 151, respectively, were based in Kampala. Of the 160 or so registered tour operators, only 35 are current members of the Association of Ugandan Tour Operators (AUTO) see Annex 9, all of whom are linked to medical facilities in Kampala including private clinics and emergency evacuation facilities. Only 16 are formally licensed (by MTTI) tour operators, conforming to standards set out in the existing tourism legislation. MTTI is responsible for registering and licensing both types of enterprises.
Local tour operators and travel agents in Uganda play a very small role in being the main distribution platform for tourism products compared with neighbouring countries. In Kenya and Tanzania, tour operators and travel agents provide between 20-30 percent of business to lodges and resorts, while in Uganda they provide only 7 and 3.5 percent, respectively (Table 2). Attracting tour operators with access and operation in international markets will go a long way in helping Uganda’s tourism sector attract more tourists and also bring best practices in this area.
Table 2: Sales Channels in Hotels (% of annual Sales)
3. Tourism Sector Outlook (trends since 2005)
3.1 Annual production/output volume/value
As shown in the figure 3 below, since 2005 the number of visitors to Uganda has been of the rise climaxing in 2008 when there were over 1,163,368 visitors. Much as there was 6% decrease in the number of arrivals in 2009, this was not significant to offset the general upward trend of arrivals.
Figure 3: Total Visitor Arrivals (Air and Road) in Uganda (000’s)
Of the 1,163,368 arrivals in 2008, 843,864 were of non-residents tourist while in 2009, 806,658 arrivals were of non-resident tourists. On the other hand, the departures were 1,142,842 and 1,071,724 in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Of which 805,605 (in 2008) were non-resident visitors whereas for 2009 non-resident departures were 760,786.
Table 3 below highlights basic facts about the visitor to Uganda for the period 2005 – 2009. It indicates that a majority of the visitors came from Africa and the number has been growing since 2005, nearly doubling from 337,000 to 631,000. The main mode of transport used by the tourists was road, the number of visitor using this mode increased from 296,000 in 2005 to 535,000 in 2009. Similarly, the number of visitors using air transport grew from 172,000 in 2005 to 358,000 in 2008 before dropping to 271,000 in 2009.
Of the about 806,000 visitors in 2009, most of the visitors (406,000) came to visit friends and relatives, followed by those who came for business and professional reasons (167,000). Whereas leisure, recreation and holidays attracted 126,000 and 107,000 were here for other reasons.
The table further shows that in the last five years the tourism expenditure in Uganda has risen from US$327 million in 2005 to US$564 million in 2009.
Table 3: Tourism basic indicators, 2005 – 2009
3.2 Employment trends in sector
The tourism sector is estimated to provide direct employment of approximately 21,000 and up to 240,000 jobs if informal employment is considered (table 4). The sector further contributes to the economy through linkages with other sectors and as result of these linkages, the total employment including the informal employment rises to 420,000 jobs, (The Uganda National Export Strategy 2008 – 2012).
3.3 Sector contribution to GDP (trends)
The contribution of tourism to foreign exchange earnings has continuously increased as indicated above, growing from US$327 million in 2005 to US$564 million, making tourism among the top foreign exchange earner for Uganda. Therefore, tourism has the potential to contribute highly to economic growth, employment and income generation, and poverty reduction in the country.
Table 4: Estimated Exports and Livelihood Dependence of Selected Sub-Sectors
4. Key strengths (competitive factors) – Why Invest in Uganda
• Uganda has unique untapped potential in the form of eco-tourism, bird life, contrasting scenery and substantial game populations.
• Uganda’s tourism resources are modestly exploited and less commercialized than Kenya, South Africa or Tanzania thus giving the tourist a true African safari without the disruption of too many other tourists.
• The competition among players in the sector is less intense than in other countries.
• Uganda with its unique attractions can be marketed both as a long-haul destination and as part of a regional package including other East African countries.
4.1 Unique Biodiversity and Products
Uganda’s wide range of tourism assets have been exploited to varying degrees. Uganda has 10 national parks, greatly underexploited snow-capped Renoir Mountains for year-round hiking and mountaineering. It also includes the “Source of the Nile” which has become a hub for adventure sports mainly white water rafting but also offers bungee jumping, kayaking, mountain biking, off-road driving, motor biking, and international triathlons. It further includes what is the most distinctive of Uganda’s tourism assets, mountain gorillas, of which 360 out of the 600 total worldwide are in Uganda. Other distinctive tourism assets include chimpanzees, Mbuti pygmies, and one of the richest African birding species in the world (having recorded over 1200 bird species, or one sixth of the world’s 8000 or so species). Uganda is only 0.02% of total dry surface of the world but accounts for 7% and 11% of the known world's birds and mammals respectively. Therefore, Uganda offers the visitors the following tourism adventure:
Map 1: The National Parks and Protected Areas
The number of visitors to the national parks has continuously been rising with the exception of 2006 since 2002 shown in the Figure 3 below. The total annual visitors to the national parks in 2009 increased to 152,000 from 110,000 in the year 2005, reflecting an increase of about 38 percent.
Figure 3: Visitors (Citizens and Foreigners) to National Parks (000’s)
4.2 Beautiful Scenery
Most of Uganda’s National Parks and Wildlife Reserves have magnificent trails for nature walks, which offer a true African walk. These cater for Night Walks, Forest Walks, Hiking, Primate Walks, or Spring/Falls walk.
Hiking activities can be undertaking at Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. A hike to the Virunga volcanoes with three extinct volcanoes (Mt. Sabyinyo 3669m, Mt. Gahinga 3474m and Mt. Muhavura 4127m) in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is an exciting experience and ideal for fit hikers. A hike on top of these mountains will give one an opportunity to be in three countries Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda at the same time.
The snow covered Rwenzori Mountains (5,119m) is another unique experienc e for mountaineering. The mist-shrouded peaks of the World Heritage Centre – also known as the 'mountains of the moon' provide stunning back drops to this magnificent mountain. Mountaineering can also be experienced on volcanic
Mount Elgon (4,321 m), the 4th highest mountain in East Africa, located on the Uganda-Kenya border, which is covered with typical afro-montane vegetation, complete with giant groundsels and bamboo forest.
4.3 Community based tourism
Ugandan society is still predominantly rural with 80% of the population living in rural areas. Traditional customs and lifestyles are still alive in many parts of the country, which adds spice to the tourist experience. Ugandans generally have a reputation for openness, and a friendly attitude to visitors. There are various peoples that make up Uganda and each group has their own traditional customs and ways of life. These customs are kept alive by many colourful ceremonies marking specific historical events or celebrating the seasons of the year.
Spontaneous dancing and music are typical of life in Uganda and visitors are often welcome to observe these ceremonies – although as a courtesy, tourists should always seek permission before taking photographs. In addition to the rich cultural experiences, tourists can choose souvenirs from countless local traditional art pieces and handcrafts. These are sold in most villages, along the roadsides, and also at specific tourist curio shops within the capital.
4.4 New niche products emerging
Saddle Billed Stork Bird watching (Avi-tourism): With almost half the known bird species on the African continent and over 10% of those recorded throughout the entire world, Uganda is a true African birding destination. The country’s location at the heart of Africa makes it possible to attract migrants from the North and South. Over 1,000 bird species have been recorded to exist in the country which include among other birds of water and land shore, birds of scrub and woodland, forest birds and birds of the open plain, thus making Uganda the richest country for birds in Africa.
Sport fishing: About one fifth of Uganda is covered by water in form of lakes, rivers and swamps, which offer a great opportunity for sport fishing and thus making Uganda an Ideal fishing destination for the following fish species Nile Perch, Tilapia, Tiger fish, ferocious fighter, Ngara (Genus alestes), catfish and barbel.
Boating: Uganda also offers memorable boating experience in Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks. Boat rides or launch trips lasting 2-5 hours on the waters enable one when cruising to view variety of birds and animals and of course the wonderful scenery.
Map 2: Map of Uganda Showing Major Tourists Circuit
5. Cost of Transport Relevant to Tourism
The transport rates for hiring vehicles for both town running and upcountry trips are charged on per day basis. However, whereas for the upcountry trips mileage is not taken into account, for town running there can be a mileage limitation. Below are the average rates for hiring different types of vehicles for the various trips:
The rates include:
• Comprehensive insurance within Uganda only and extra Insurance will be required when crossing to another country within COMESA at client’s cost.
• Drivers allowances, Mineral water and Vehicle maintenance
The rates don’t include:
• Any cost met at the borders
6. Availability of special skills (university departments, training facilities)
Uganda has quite a high number of institutions both private and public offering training in tourism related courses. However, there are only two public institutions setup offer training on tourism specifically, namely the Crested Crane Hotel and Tourism Training Centre under Ministry of Education and Uganda Wildlife Training Institute Kasese under the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Table 5: Public Institutions Specifically for Tourism Training
However, some public higher institutions of learning like Makerere University (MUK) and Makerere University Business School (MUBS) have introduced degree programmes to offer tourism related courses. Annex 3 shows number of graduates from various institutions who qualified with certificates, diplomas and degrees in tourism related courses.
7. Licenses required for operation in the sector
The tourism sector is subject to the same general licensing procedures that relate to any business operation. However, depending on the specific tourism activity, additional special licenses may be required from the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (see Annex 4). In order to license a project in the tourism industry, an investor will go through the following stages: –
a) Registration of Company with the Registrar of Companies
b) Application for Investment License from Uganda Investment Authority (for a foreign investor)
c) Opening of office, recruitment of staff, and acquisition of equipment in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.
d) Application for Required License (attaching certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association)
e) Wait for inspection team from the Ministry of Tourism to visit office premise, after which Tourism Licensing Committee sits to consider application and award license or not.
8. Specific sector related incentives
In her effort to promote investment in the sector, government offers sector specific incentives for development of hotels and related infrastructure as outlined below.
8.1 Initial allowance
8.2 VAT Exempt Supplies – Second Schedule of the VAT Act
The following goods and services are exempt from VAT.
• The supply of accommodation in tourist lodges and hotels outside Kampala district;
8.3 Customs Exemption Regime
Exemption of international trade taxes refers to instances where the goods imported by some individuals and institutions are cleared through customs free of customs duties and taxes. Section 114 of the EAC-CMA 2004 provides for exemption of customs duties and taxes on importations by specified categories of people and goods outlined in the 5th schedule.
Categories of exempted goods – General Exemptions:
These are goods of a general nature that fall in the following categories: –
• Hotel Equipment; Any of the following items imported for use in a licensed Hotel, engraved or printed or marked with the hotel logo. These include: – Washing machines; Kitchen Ware; Cookers; Fridges and freezers; Air Conditioning Systems; Cutlery; Televisions; Carpets; Furniture; and Linen and Curtains.
8.4 Duty Free Diesel
This is a short-term incentive facility by government to Large Scale Enterprises in order to alleviate the impact of power shortages on their operations. The facility operates by way of a tax waiver of Shs.530/= per liter on Diesel used in the generation of power for business operations and whose generators have an output of 100 KVA for the Manufacturing, Agro-Processing, Health, Hotel, Printing & Publishing, and Telecommunication sectors, or less than 100 KVA for the Flower and Banking Sectors. (Conditions apply.)
9. Key Tourists Source markets
9.1 International Tourism Top Spenders
According to UNWTO, Germany maintained her position as the world’s top tourism spenders for two years running (2008 & 2009). The United States maintained the second post and the United Kingdom held steady at the third spot. It suffices to note that China’s expenditure grew fastest, move it to the fourth position from the seventh position in 2005. On the other hand Japan moved downwards to seventh position. France and Italy maintained their fifth and sixth positions respectively as biggest source markets in terms of international tourism expenditure. With exception of the change that occurred between China and Japan all the other major source markets of Canada, Russian Federation and the Netherlands maintained their positions among the top ten.
Table 6: International Tourism Top Spenders
9.2 Arrivals trends (past five years)
The total annual arrivals as seen from the table 7 below were on the upward trend from 2005 until 2008 then dropped in the 2009. The total arrivals in the year 2009 were recorded as 1,094,834 compared to 1,163,368 in the year 2008, reflecting a 6% drop. Of the 2008 arrivals (figure 4), 547,482 used Entebbe Airport while the rest used the other entry points namely Busia & Malaba (304,447), Mutukula, Western and Northern border points (331,439). While in 2009, 410,851 used Entebbe Airport while 347,664 used Busia & Malaba and 336,304 used Mutukula, Western & Northern border points.
Table 7: Total Arrivals and Departures in Uganda, 2005 – 2009
Figure 4: Total Arrivals by main entry Points (000’s)
In the year 2009, over 406,000 travelled to the country to visit friends and relatives, 167,000 came for business whereas 126,000 were holiday tourists and 107,000 were either in transit or did not specify the purpose of coming to Uganda.
Table 8: Visitors arrivals by purpose of visit (000’s)
10. World Trade in the products (Key importers)
10.1 Tourist Arrivals by (Sub) region
According to the 2010 World Tourism Organization’s results international tourists arrivals into sub-Saharan Africa have been on the increase reaching 28.1 million in 2009. The region continues to be a preferred tourists’ destination resulting to the growth in arrivals which is only second to that of Central American. In terms of the entire continent, Africa recorded the second highest average annual growth of 6.2% since 2000. However, the Middle East posted the strongest average annual increase over the past ten years. Since 2000, it has averaged 8.8% a year as against 5.7% for Asia and the Pacific, 1.8% for Europe and 1% for the Americas. By comparison, the world average was just under 3%. It is worth noting that all sub regions recorded an increase in international arrivals over the ten-year period. On a positive note it is only the African region that posted a positive increase in arrivals of 3.1%.
Table 9: International Tourist Arrivals
In 2009, the majority of international tourist arrivals (51%) were related to travels for leisure, recreation and holidays (446 million arrivals). Business and professional travel accounted for 15% whereas other motives reasons for travel such as visiting friends and relatives (VFR), religious purposes/pilgrimages, health treatment accounted for 26% of the arrivals in 2009. The remaining 7% of arrivals did not specify the purpose of visit their visit.
Figure 5: World Inbound Tourism by Purpose of visit, 2009
Figure 6 below highlights the fact that for international arrivals worldwide, Air transport is still the main means of travel. In 2009, 53% of the arrivals were by Air followed by Road transport at 39% with Water and Rail transport contribute for only 5% and 3% respectively. The trend over years has been that air transport is growing at a faster pace than all the other mode of transport on land or water.
Figure 6: World Inbound Tourism by means of transport, 2009
10.2 Outbound tourism by generating regions – long-haul back to growth
By far most international travel takes place within the same region which contributes four-fifths of the total international arrivals. It suffices to note that under normal circumstances travel between regions tends to grow at a faster pace than intraregional travel. Europe is currently the largest source market, generating 55% of international arrivals worldwide, followed by Asia and the Pacific (20%) and the Americas (16%). With rising levels of disposable income, many emerging economies have shown fast growth in the last decades, in particular in North East and South East Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Southern Africa. However, as a result of the global economic recession, outbound tourism from all regions declined in 2009, with the exception of Africa which increased slightly.
Table 10: Outbound tourism by generating regions
As a result of the economic recession, in 2008/2009 the Middle East had the highest percentage decline in outbound tourism of 5.3% followed by Europe and Americas with 5.2% and 4.7% respectively. This overshadowed the slight gains achieved in 2007/2008 where the Middle East had a 17.6% increase and Africa had 3.5% increase, while all the other regions less than 2% growth.
11. Key Private Sector Players in the Tourism Sector
Private firms involved in the tourism industry can be classified into four broad categories:
• Hotel and accommodation services: Currently over 90% of all accommodation services in the country are owned by private investors. See Annexes 5 & 6
• Tour and Travel Operators: There is currently over 140 tour and travel operators in the country, including international names such as Abercrombie and Kent, Afritours and Travel and Volcanoes. See Annex 9
• Tourism Auxiliary Service Providers: This category includes producers of promotional materials for example Uganda Tourist Board, organizers of international and internal travel markets and trade fairs. Local craft shops have also sprung up, selling items from the various cultural groups of the country.
• Airlines and overland transport service providers. See Annexes 7 & 8
12. Approved Investment projects in the sector 2009 and 2010
The number of projects approved in the tourism sector has been growing and in 2010 a total of 31 projects were licensed. Of which 19 were locally owned, 11 foreign owned and only one joint venture project. These projects plan to invest US$85.9 million and employ a total of 2,310 people.
Table 11: 2009 and 2010 Approved Investment in the Tourism Sector
13. Key opportunities
As highlighted earlier, the Investment Opportunities Uganda has are related to new unique tourism products that the country offers. The following opportunities are available for private investors: –
13.1 Tour Operators
Uganda has numerous opportunities for new and innovative tour operators with international contacts and can market Uganda internationally as a new destination based on the special attractions. The tour operators can market Adventure Holidays, Sport Fishing, Eco-tourism and Bird Watching as well as Gorilla Tracking. Uganda has a niche in specialty tours targeting the up-scale tourists with a mix of ecological flavour and limited adventure. This niche is a high potential of growth but this depends on strengthening of the linkage with tour operators servicing the regional market, to develop and exploit multi-destination packages.
13.2 Water Sports and other related Activities
Uganda has a lot of potential to attract tourists to undertake water sports on Lake Victoria and other water bodies, which as underutilized. The investment opportunities include luxury boat cruises, boating services on the popular lakes and rivers (the Nile) create a unique tourist experience and water sports such as white water rafting, skiing, boat racing.
As Uganda begins to make her mark as a unique to tourism destination, tourists of all calibres will flock in, hence the demand for all ranges of accommodation. The average occupancy rate for the ‘low-end’ accommodation is very high as opposed to ‘high-end’ accommodation. There are great opportunities in the mid-range accommodation facilities through the country as well as high-end facilities in the basic tourist circuits.
13.3.2 Serviced Apartments
These serviced apartments offer fairly lower accommodation rates for visitors who are visiting for relatively longer durations. The main target group king of accommodation can be Visit Friends and Relatives (VFR) category and these opportunities exist.
Table 12: Length of stay, expenditures and consumption of visitors arriving by air
13.3.3 Conferences and Incentives Travel
The non-resource based tourist market is also growing significantly and should be targeted as a means to diversify Uganda’s tourist appeal. Studies show that on average business travellers stay twice as long and spend three times as much as regular tourists. This points to the potential attractiveness of the conferences and incentives travel sector as a tourist product. Currently, the regional conference and incentive travel sector is dominated by Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mauritius and to a lesser extent Ethiopia and Kenya. On the whole, however, the international conference market is still largely underserved in this part of the world.
Uganda is presently constrained by a lack of adequate facilities both in terms of accommodation and also in terms of event and exhibition facilities. The country does not have a single recognized exhibition center of international standards. The opportunities in this area for investors include the establishment of world-class accommodation and exhibition facilities that can attract major international conferences and events, the establishment of event planning operations/companies to run such events etc…
13.4 National Park Concessions
There are still a number of opportunities to secure long-term concessions in Uganda’s National Parks, through the rehabilitation of existing facilities or the construction of new service in both the old and newly designated parks see Annex 10. There are a substantial number of contracts expected for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of various tourist properties in the parks. The Uganda Wild Life Authority has awarded over 15 concessions to companies, which operate rest camps, and lodges inside the national parks. For more information on the status of concessions, please contact the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
13.5 Joint Ventures
Uganda Investment Authority maintains a database of local and foreign companies seeking joint ventures in tourism and other sectors. Interested investors may contact the Investor Facilitation and Aftercare Division, UIA.
14. Key Contacts (trade associations, relevant government departments, etc.)
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry
The overall planning and development of Uganda’s tourism industry is the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. This is done either directly at the Ministry or indirectly though parastatals and subsidiary bodies established by statute under the Ministry.
1. Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry
Farmers’ House, Plot 6/8, Parliamentary Avenue
P.O. Box 7103 Kampala, Uganda
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
2. IPA-PAMSU Project
Tourism Database Unit
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry
5th Floor, Farmers House, Plot 6/8 Parliament Avenue
P.O. Box 7103 Kampala, Uganda
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Uganda Tourist Board
Established through an Act of Parliament in November 1994, Uganda Tourist Board has the primary mandate of being the tourism promotion arm of Government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry. This function has traditionally been directed through international trade exhibitions where UTB has joined with the private sector in promoting Uganda as a destination.
Uganda Tourist Board
P.O. Box 7211 Kampala, Uganda
Uganda Wildlife Authority
The objectives of the Uganda Wildlife Authority are: –
a) To conserve the wildlife and other resources of natural scenic and scientific value in those areas within its jurisdiction.
b) To ensure that the integrity of such areas is properly maintained.
c) To identify areas which should be designated and gazetted as protected areas so as to ensure adequate protection of Uganda’s major eco-system, nature habitat and biodiversity.
d) Explore the possibilities of increasing benefits to local communities living within or adjacent to protected areas.
e) To exploit wildlife potentials to generate revenue for individuals and government.
Uganda Wildlife Authority
Plot 7 Kira Road, Kamwokya
P.O. Box 3530
Kampala – Uganda
Uganda Investment Authority: Promotion and Facilitation of Investment in Uganda
Uganda Investment Authority
Plot 28 Kampala Road
P.O. Box 7418 Kampala, Uganda
Civil Aviation Authority: Air Transport Regulator
Civil Aviation Authority
P.O. Box 5536 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256-414-320516/ 320519/ 320555
Industry Associations and Support Institutions
There are also a number of associations established by the private sector to promote business and also to develop professionalism in the tourism industry. These include the Uganda Tourist Association (UTA), the Hotel and Catering Association of Uganda (HCAU), Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), Uganda Association of Tourism Training Institutions (UATTI), Private Sector
Foundation (PSF) and the Uganda Association of Travel Agents (TUGATA).
Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO)
Plot 31, Kanjokya Street, Kamwokya
P.O. Box 9034, Kampala
Annex 1: Tourist arrivals by country of usual residence, 2002 – 2006
Annex 2: Migration Statistics: Entebbe Arrivals, 2002– 2006
Annex 3: Training Institutions, courses and number of Graduates by Sex
Annex 4: Special Licensing Requirement of Tourism Investments
Annex 5: Accommodation – Hotels
The table below shows a listing of some hotels in the major tourist destinations
Annex 6: Accommodation – Apartments
The table below lists some apartments in Kampala and Jinja
Annex 7: Scheduled Flights at Entebbe International Airport by Operator and Destination
The table below shows a listing of Airline firms operating schedules passenger flights at Entebbe International Airport by Destination.
Annex 8: Non –Scheduled Carriers Operating At Entebbe International Airport
The table below shows a listing of Airline firms operating non-schedules flights at Entebbe International Airport.
Annex 9: List of Tour and Travel Operators
The table below shows a listing of Tour and Travel Operators in Uganda.
Annex 10: Investment Opportunities in Uganda Wildlife Authority Protected Areas and on private land adjacent to the Protected Areas
The Wildlife Act Cap 200 of 2000 of the Laws of Uganda provides for the Executive Director, Uganda Wildlife Authority, with approval of the Board of Trustees to enter into suitable commercial arrangements with any person for provision of services and infrastructure in the Protected Areas (PAs). The Uganda Wildlife Policy also provides for private sector investments in the PAs.
Suitable Tourism Investments and / or Concessions in the PAs include Tourism Accommodation facilities like Lodges, Luxury Tented Camps, Cottages, and Bush Campsites. Other possible investments are luxury cruise boats, mountain climbing, and Air transport as well as co-management of Wildlife Reserves.
A number of sites in or near the various PAs that have been identified for investment include the following:
1. Butiaba Port – Five Star Resort Beach Hotel near Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) on Lake Albert.
2. Co- Management of Bugungu WR and Karuma WR where Bush camps can be set up. These two reserves are contiguous with MFNP.
3. Co- Management of Ajai WR for Tourism Developments. Purongo, although outside the park, is suitable for an up market Hotel. Agreements with the Community would be drawn before the investments would be put up on the Murchison Falls Conservation Area boundary northern sector.
4. International Airline Transport into the Protected Areas: This is another area that offers lucrative business /investments. Landing airstrips already exist in the following areas
a. Kidepo Valley National Park
b. Murchison Falls National Park
c. Queen Elizabeth National Park – Mweya Peninsula
d. Kisoro town
e. Kayonza Tea Estate near Buhoma / Bwindi National Park
g. Kasese Town / Airstrip near Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area
The airstrips in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks are already approved international entry points.
5. Mountain Climbing in the Rwenzori National Park, Mt. Elgon National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
6. Luxury Camping and Walking Safaris along Kazinga Channel, Kyambura & Northern Crater Areas in Queen Elizabeth Protected Areas.
7. Luxury Cruise Boats on Lakes Albert, Edward, Victoria and along the Nile and operation of Launch/boat on Lake Mburo
8. Sport Fishing on Lake George and between Karuma & Murchison Falls (30 km)
9. White Water Rafting between Karuma & Murchison Falls.
10. Canopy Walk in Kibale National Park.
Indicative figures for some of the investments
Average cost of the concessions:
• Concession costs depend on the type of concession companies and/or individuals that are put up in the PAs. For example, cost of a luxury tented camp is very different from cost of a five star hotel. Concessionaires are require to prepare proposals that include:
o Type of Development (Cruise boat, Luxury tented camp, Five-star Hotel etc);
o Commitment of funds (to ensure that funds declared match the type of investment stated)
o How much the development is going to cost (Level of Investment);
o Timeframe of implementing the Development
These concessions are guided by provisions in the individual Protected Area General Management Plans (GMPs). Where GMPs are not available, UWA works out the provisions for the specific concession. However, UWA has standard costs that are charged to concessionaires.
• When a concessionaire puts up a development, they are allowed to use the land not lease the land;
• Once a concession agreement is signed,
o Concessionaires pay a ground rent ranging between US$ 2000 – 5000 depending on the type of concession.
o There is also a signing charge ranging from US$ 5000 – 10,000.
o A bed-night reserve charge paid to UWA is US$5.00 and
o No exclusive zones are allowed.
• The length of time for a concession depends on the type of concession. Currently the period ranges between 5 – 20 years. Such concessions include operating boat/launch services on rivers and water channels, Management of Hotels etc.
• The size of some of the areas mentioned are:
o Karuma Wildlife Reserve – 675sq.km
o Bugungu Wildlife Reserve – 473 sq. km
o Ajai Wildlife Reserve – 148 sq. km
Attached herewith are 2 maps showing some of the various locations.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Managed Protected Areas
Murchison Falls Conservation Area Possible Investment Sites
Uganda-UK Trade and Investment Convention (UCUK) © 2020 - 11th-11th September 2020
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