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Embrace Domestic Tourism To Accelerate Sector Recovery – Minister Mugarra

Embrace Domestic Tourism To Accelerate Sector Recovery – Minister Mugarra

Ugandans have been urged to rally behind domestic tourism, as a key driver of the post-Covid-19 tourism sector recovery. The Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiques, Bahinduka Mugarra Martin made the call over the independence weekend.

This happened as he launched ‘’My Breathtaking Uganda,’’ a domestic tourism campaign. According to Minister Mugarra, the campaign is critical for building resilience to international shocks with new reinstated travel restrictions.

However, he also said the campaign is a major driver of word-of-mouth marketing since most tourists believe in travel recommendations from friends and family.

The Minister led an expedition of 40 domestic tourists on three lakes, 4 Hotels deep-dive experience to Western Uganda.

At the trip, the reigning Miss Uganda, Elizabeth Bagaya who vowed to use her institution to promote Uganda to the rest of the world happened to be there.

Mugarra noted that the independence weekend excursion which blended a mix of wildlife, marine, cultural and adventure tourism are what tourists want.

He, therefore, said they should promote these as the ultimate tourism package to Uganda. Especially as an alternative to the wildlife-heavy tourism sector.

‘’The diversification and promotion of tourism products beyond wildlife tourism to include among others, religious, cultural, culinary (food) and other forms of tourism is key to accelerating post-Covid-19 recovery and catching up with the sector’s National Development Plan III (NDP III) targets,’’ he said.

He also re-echoed the importance of domestic tourism in sustaining Uganda’s tourism sector, one of Uganda’s largest foreign income earners.

Statistically, foreign tourist bookings increased faster, growing fourfold between August 2020 and March 2021.

However, within that same period, domestic tourist bookings tripled. By the end of March 2021, bookings registered by airlines and accommodation facilities doubled by the end of March 2021.

At least 30% of tourism jobs were recovered by the end of March 2021 as hotel occupancy rates increased by 10%.

However, it is not yet clear how badly Covid-19 impacted the tourism sector.

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