Cabinet Approves New National Tourism Policy – Uganda

A national tourism policy that intends to upgrade competitiveness of Uganda’s tourism industry through effective marketing, promotion, research and infrastructure improvement has been approved by cabinet.

Announcing the development yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister, the minister for information and national guidance, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, said the current policy detailed in 2003 had run its course.

“It was visualized during the formulation of the 2003 policy that [it] would guide the tourism industry for 10 years. It is more than 10 years since this policy was formulated and this lapse of time necessitates refocusing and positioning of the industry to meet changing international tourism dynamics,” Muhwezi said.

The new arrangement is aligned to Uganda’s Vision 2040, the second National Development Plan, all of which prioritize tourism as a primary development driver of Uganda’s economy. Current, Uganda’s tourism earning over US$ 1.4bn every year, and the figure is estimated to increase to US$ 12bn in 2040, according to Uganda’s Vision 2040.

Jim Muhwezi said the new policy will aim at the tourism industry to effectively contribute to national socio-economic transformation.

He included that the 2015 policy intends to “provide for effective regulation of the sector in order to ensure quality and acceptable standards necessary for development of the tourism sector.”

In the interim, the cabinet has approved a bill for the implementation of the standards of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

“Cabinet realized the importance we connect to the COMESA as a bigger market and the advantages thereof, and deemed it necessary to give the COMESA treaty the force of law in Uganda,” Muhwezi said.

The impact of the bill will lead the domestication of the provisions of the COMESA treaty and facilitate implementation of COMESA regulations in Uganda. Uganda endorsed the COMESA arrangement in 1994 and a bill was drafted in 1997 to domestic the treaty. Nonetheless, it stalled at cabinet level due to Uganda’s desire to consolidate its participation in the East African Community.

Muhwezi additionally revealed that the cabinet has constituted a board to analyze the problems associated with gambling and all related vices in the nation. This step is seen as a response to the public outcry about sports betting.