Uganda’s tourism sector is beaming with hope as the country officially reopens its borders and airspace since March this year.
As per President Yoweri Museveni’s directive last week, Uganda’s borders and Entebbe International Airport have been reopened today Thursday with some restrictions that include strict adherence to Standard Operating Procedures to prevent the spread of Civid19.
The relaunch of air travel is hoped to give a major jump to the tourism sector, which is still reeling and is expected to take years to stabilize to the level where it was the country’s leading forex earner before the Covid19 advent.
There is however, hope among the tourism stakeholders that the recovery might be faster than had been projected.
Mrs Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board says the country is more than ready to relaunch tourism even when the Covid19 pandemic is still raging.
Yesterday, Ajarova told ChimpReports that the relaunch of air travel couldn’t have been more timely, especially after the country just received two major endorsements for its preparation to receive foreign tourists.
“We have just got two recognitions on the efforts that we have put in the tourism sector,” she said.
“One is by the World Travel and Tourism Council who gave us the Safe Travel Stamp. That means that they are endorsing Uganda to be one of the safest destinations to travel right now in the face of the pandemic. They are satisfied with all we have put in place to ensure safety for international travellers into Uganda.”
“The other is the Safer Seal which we received from African Tourism Board. The board overseas the different countries in Africa to see that we are in compliance and to make sure that our destinations are safe. With all this, Uganda is more prepared and ready to restart tourism.”
Among other measures, Ajarova says UTB just came up with stamps to certify local hotels and tourism facilities which are adhering to the Covid19 SOPs.
“After inspecting all the facilities we are going back again to make sure that people are actually compliant all the time. We are doing spot-checks and giving them the stamps. So any visitor coming to any facility will be able to know that this hotel is compliant,” she said.
Tourism has for a number of years been Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner having raked in over $1.6billion last year. The sector’s contribution to the GDP stood at 7%.