Following consultations with key stakeholders, the Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) has re-opened savannah parks to tourists with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place.
“The savannah parks are now open for tourism. Primate parks however remain closed to the public until further notice. The head office in Kampala is also open to the public who require any of our services,” a Press statement issued yesterday.
UWA’s Spokesperson Bashir Hangi says measures are being taken to ensure that visitors and staff do not fall prey to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Notably, Hangi says hand washing facilities and non-contact infra-red thermometers have been installed at key tourism gates leading to different protected areas.
In the same vein, vehicles/ferries transporting tourists have been directed to carry half of their normal capacity as earlier guided by President Yoweri Museveni. This also applies to the use of vehicles and boats in the parks.
“Saloon car vehicles shall not be permitted to carry out game drives activities. Large groups exceeding 25 people shall not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activities,” Hangi adds further.
In the meantime, destination weddings have been banned while those visiting National Parks are encouraged to carry their own sanitizer and face masks.
“Staff on duty shall sensitize the visitors on the general government approved COVID-19 operational guidelines including the ones developed and approved by UWA management,” he says.
This comes as a relief after three months of inactivity after the country was put under lock and key in March 20 2020.
In 2017, tourism was Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earner raking in USD 1,453 million and directly generating 229,000 jobs according to a 2019/2020 Budget Framework Paper.
Directly and indirectly, 605,500 jobs were created by the tourism sector two years back according to this document.