By Grant ahumuza
Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba, the Ndorwa West Member of Parliament also Shadow Attorney General has warned government to minimize criminality during the 2021 elections for tourism to flourish.
He said criminality would scare away tourists, yet the sector is Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner.
“Our government has also become a disincentive to tourism. You do not need to start throwing tear gas everywhere, arresting people for no good reason, soldiers roaming with guns everywhere…all those do not interest tourists. Actually they look at a country as if it’s at war. Those things do not encourage tourism.” Niwagaba said.
He was speaking to the press on Wednesday at the Kabale district headquarters shortly after attending the Kabale district budget conference
“Actually that’s why I implore that we need to be civil. We need to be democratic; if you choose to be authoritarian you cannot be democratic. And at the end of the day, it is us who lose as Ugandans. If we do things in a civil manner, it helps each and everybody” Niwagaba added.
As a way of Kabale district to boost its local revenue, Niwagaba advised the district to embrace tourism, saying there are a lot of tourist attractions, which are better off than those in Europe and America that would earn the district a lot of local revenue.
It was reported by the Kabale district Chief Finance Officer that the district collected only Shs 231 Millions in local revenue.
President Museveni in august this year during the state of the nation address at the Kampala Serena Conference centre revealed that tourism sector is a driving force in propelling economic growth .
Museveni revealed that tourism continues to be the leading foreign exchange earner for Uganda generating US$1.45 billion foreign exchange earnings in 2017 compared to USD 1.37 billion in 2016.
Uganda was last year described as the friendliest country globally following a survey that was conducted among expatriates globally, according to the BBC.
Uganda receives about 1.3 million tourists annually and this is expected to increase to 4 million by 2020