By Mary Asujo
President Yoweri Museveni’s youngest daughter, Mrs. Diana Kamuntu, has asked government to focus on developing roads, hotel infrastructure and new products like cultural and historical sites that will attract more tourists into the country.
Diana Museveni Kamuntu made the call while speaking at the launch of the Parliamentary Forum for Conservation and Sustainable Tourism held at Africana hotel in Kampala on October 15.
She noted that tourists site like Fort Patiko in Gulu, Bigobyamugenyi in Sembabule District among others, require better roads and hotels to attract tourists.
Mrs Diana urged parliament to increase budget of marketing Uganda’s tourism abroad to position Uganda to attract more foreign tourists into the country which will increase the country’s revenue through tourism.
The first daughter also pleaded to members of parliament to allocate funds to work on the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest explaining that the current state of the road to this tourist site is in deplorable condition and therefore not good to travelers.
On the same note, the Minister of State for Tourism, Martin Mugara, defended the proposal by the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, for Uganda to introduce a Tourism Development Levy saying it is intended to develop the tourism sector in the country.
In September this year, the Committee proposed a levy of 10 dollars to be charged on each air ticket for every person who departs from Uganda by air transport. The levy was later approved by parliament.
According to the parliamentary committee, the funds accrued from the initiative are to be used to develop wildlife tourism and lead to an increase in the number of tourists visiting the tourist attractions in the country.
Minister Mugara added that he is not happy with some players in the tourism sector opposing the proposed Tourism Development Levy.
The minister also launched the parliamentary Forum for Conservation and Sustainable Tourism held at Africana hotel in Kampala today October 15.
He remarked that tourism in Uganda was adversely affected by Covid-19 pandemic but the sector is currently among government sectors that are quickly recovering.
He said that by the end of this year Uganda will have hit 1billion shillings in revenue earnings despite the effects of COVID -19 lockdown.