President Museveni has encouraged Ugandans to visit local tourism sites and appreciate the beauty of their country.
He also assured Ugandans and the whole world that Uganda is safe and their security is guaranteed in any part of the country.
The President was visiting the Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Besides the Kasenyi Animal Sight spot near Lake George, he also toured the spectacular Kazinga Channel and Mweya Safari Lodge.
The spirit of his tour, including his recent visit of Semuliki National Park, is to promote tourism.
The NRM says it recognises tourism as an important source of growth with great potential for employment creation and foreign exchange earnings.
Tourism has been growing consistently since the restoration of peace and security, and now accounts for around 9.9% of GDP, amounting to $2.13b in 2014 compared to $0.8b in 2006.
Foreign visitors brought into the country an equivalent of $1.3b in foreign exchange earnings in 2014, from $662m in 2010.
The NRM government is committed to protecting and preserving the country’s eco-systems with a view of utilising these resources for nature-based tourism, environmental mitigation and sustainable use by communities neighboring protected areas.
In order to enhance tourism promotion and marketing, we restructured the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and increased its budget from sh1.4b in 2011 to sh11.6b in 2015 to enable the tourism sector market the country in key foreign markets of USA, Germany, UK, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
A Single Tourism Visa was launched in 2014 to ease the access of visitors to the three East Africa States of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda and joint EAC marketing efforts commenced in the same year.
“We have continuously supported regional tourism promotion efforts of the Buganda Expo and initiatives in the Toro, Bunyoro, Ankole, Busoga and Kigezi clusters,” said the NRM secretariat in a statement.
Others include the Eastern Tourism Forum Culture and faith-based initiatives for example Namugongo Martyrs’ shrines.
“We have also supported revival and strengthening of the wildlife clubs in schools. We have beefed up security in the national parks both for the tourists and wildlife as a result of collaboration among the UPDF, a 1,500 strong ranger force and the Tourism Police force of 152.”
Uganda Wildlife Authority has also created an intelligence unit manned by 80 persons to fight poaching.
The NRM government has ensured the communities around the national parks and wildlife reserves benefit from the proceeds from the parks.
Through the revenue- sharing agreement, communities around the periphery of the parks have continuously, in particular, been supported financially to construct schools and health units.
Overtime, government has put in place measures to mitigate human wildlife conflicts by constructing elephant trenches, planting Mauritius thorns (live fences), buffalo walls, using scare-shooting, capturing and trans-locating crocodiles, applying pepper spray and chili cakes.
A number of trenches (a total of 190km) have been dug in parts of some parks such as Murchison Falls, Kibaale and Queen Elizabeth to control elephants and buffalos from invading communities.