Meet the Female Driving Force Behind Ugandans Blossoming Tourism

Empowering women and enabling them to work at the highest levels has proved to be a spot-on goal, one that is uniquely vivid in the country’s tourism industry.

The sector, which has in recent years crept its way to the top of the county’s foreign exchange earners, has a lot of women, many of them working behind curtains, who have been giving it the big shove.

And now as the country joins the rest of the world to mark the International Women’s Day, we take a look at some of the top women that are owed gratitude for the tourism industry’s success story.

Lilly Ajarova indisputably tops this list. Famously known as Mama Chimpanzee, she is a renown conservationist with exceptional knowledge and extensive experience in the field.

She’s just been appointed head of the Uganda Tourism Board.

For 14 years Ajarova worked as the Executive Director of Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and while there she introduced and mentored more than 30 youthful journalists into the field of conservation, tourism and travel.

She has also been a mentor with the Women in conservation leadership training programmes where she ensures that female wardens, rangers and Safari guides understand natural resources management and conservation.

Ajarova once worked as a Tourism Product manager at Uganda Wildlife Authority where she spearheaded the development and marketing of tourism products in Uganda’s National Parks.


She is also a recipient of the prestigious Tourism Excellence Award 2017, National Golden Jubilee Award 2015 and Wildlife Conservation Award 2017.

Last year, Ajarova was selected among Africa’s top travel 100 women as a leader, pioneer and innovator.

Mrs Susan Muhwezi

Susan Muhwezi is the Chairperson of Uganda Hotel Owners Association, one of the biggest and strongest private sector bodies in Uganda’s tourism industry.

UHOA is also one of Ugandan’s Associations to have an all female leadership at the helm.

With them, UHOA has grown to be one the most visible and recognized names in Tourism because of their tireless lobbying efforts.

Muhwezi is a powerhouse when it comes to speaking on issues concerning Ugandan’s tourism industry.

She is extremely passionate about seeing Uganda grow as the major tourism hub in Africa.

Muhwezi is also currently the Vice Chairperson at the Uganda Tourism Board and also represents the Tourism sector at the Private Sector Foundation, a key vote of confidence from her colleagues in the Tourism industry.

She is well admired and loved by the hoteliers in Uganda for advocating for issues affecting the sector and is extremely passionate about youth development.

Tirelessly, she has used her top position to champion many causes that encourage financing capacity building programs for hotel staff.


Jean Byamugisha is the youngest, first female Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association to hold the position.

Under her Tenure she has grown membership of the association to 609 hotels in Uganda.

In 2017 and 2018, Byamugisha was named among the top 100 women in Africa’s tourism and was also named in Uganda’s Top 40 under 40.

Byamugisha is passionate about tourism and pays special attention to training of young people to join the industry.

She has held mentorship talks at different universities to inspire the next generation of Tourism professionals.

Lilian Kamusiime is a Tour Guide, Vice Chairperson of Uganda Safari Guides Association and owner of Kigezi Biota Tours which specializes in attractions in Kigezi.

Lilian Kamusiime

Kamusiime is a well respected lady who has prospered in a male dominated field proving to the world that women can do it all.

She has driven though thick forests, long dusty roads and rough terrains just to give her customers the best services.

She is well known to be a careful lady who takes every precaution when driving and many tourists feel comfortable with her behind the wheels.

When you interact with Kamusiime you notice that she has Uganda’s Map on her palm, she intelligently explains to you what to expect from each part of the country off head.

Gloria Tumwesigye is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators [AUTO] the leading tourism trade association, representing experienced professional tour operators with over 250 companies who offer a wide range of tour packages for Uganda.

Tumwesigye has been in AUTO for over 9 years and is passionate about responsible tourism and business development that focuses on improving the livelihoods of host communities especially creating jobs for the youth.

Tina Katushabe is a selfless lady from a humble background who started up an organization called Change A life Bwindi in the South West Part of Uganda.

Change A life Bwindi is a Non Government Organization giving the Batwa People and locals around Bwindi Impenetrable National park a better life though sustainable tourism.

Tina Katushabe CEO Change a Life Bwindi

Katushabe’s turning point was a few years back when she visited Bwindi and witnessed local people suffering that’s when she decided to start up an organization to help them.

In the organization they teach women to weave, make crafts and clothes. They as well teach men bee keeping which they commercialize and have a sustainable livelihood.

Aisha Nabwanika is one of the youngest and fastest growing youths in Tourism.

Since 2016 she has worked at the Uganda Tourism Association which is the umbrella organization that brings together tourism trade associations in Uganda that’s; AUTO, USAGA, UHOA, TUGATA, UCOTA, AUWOTT and NACCAU.

Aisha Nabwanika

Nabwanika has moved mountains to make sure that Ugandans natural resources are used in a sustainable way and has always made sure Ugandan’s tourism sector achieves its greatest potential.

She also mentors her fellow young people to join her in the field to solve the problem of Unemployment which is one of the biggest in the country.

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