The Pearl of Africa, as designated by Sir Winston Churchill, is a country of exceptional beauty endowed with a vast array of natural and cultural attractions.
Uganda has over 1,056 species of birds representing 11 per cent of the world’s bird species; over half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, 7 per cent of the world’s mammal species and a variety of butterflies. The country has the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world, the source of Africa’s longest river (Nile), the best rapids for white water rafting and the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.
Tourism is the second biggest foreign exchange earner for the country contributing US$ 1.003 Billion as of 2012. The sector accounted for 14.6 per cent of total employment in Uganda for 2011. The tourist arrivals have been increasing at an average rate of 20 per cent in the last ten years. In 2012, the international arrivals were recorded at 1.2 million and 1.7 million visitors in 2014.
The tourism industry is expected to play a major role in the economy and become the major contributor to GDP by 2040. It will provide enormous employment opportunities directly and in related service industries and projected to earn over USD 12 billion by 2040. In addition to the direct benefits, the industry will spur the growth of the associated secondary and tertiary industries.
Despite the challenges still faced by the Tourism sector in Uganda such limited funding, lack of skilled manpower, poor road network, weak tourism brand, limited product base among others the sector still presents the country with numerous tourism opportunities to stimulate economic growth and earn significant revenues.
We do hope that the Matching Grant Facility will go a long way in helping to stimulate productivity, growth and enterprise competitiveness amongst the private sector players who drive the tourism sector in Uganda.