The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has invited more tourists to Uganda to experience the unique natural beauty of the pearl of Africa.
The Premier said Uganda was ranked among the top tourist destinations in the world.
Dr Rugunda made the remarks while meeting American tourists and investors who have been in the country at his invitation to see for themselves what Uganda has to offer in the tourism industry.
The team included Raul de Molina, a television talkshow host working for Univision network in Miami, in the United States of America.
Molina’s talkshow is followed by over 53 million viewers and he is also followed by millions of people on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.
“Raul will use his huge following globally to market Uganda as one of the top tourist destinations in the world,” said the Premier.
He said tourism remains an important pillar, contributing significantly to Uganda’s economy.
According to the National Development Plan (NDP 1), tourism was ranked as one of the fastest growing service sectors of the economy and a major foreign exchange earner.
Uganda was voted in 2012 as number one tourist destination for 2012 by Lonely Planet the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world.
The team visited and tracked gorillas at Bwindi impenetrable forest national park (BINP) which is one of UNESCO’s heritage sites best known for its mountain gorilla populations.
According to Ezuma Pontious, the chief warden at BINP, Bwindi is home to almost half of the world’s mountain gorillas (about 400 of the total 880).
In one of his messages on social media, Molina posted, “Having a wonderful time in Uganda-Unique travel experience with the silverback gorillas.”
The American tourists also visited Bwindi community hospital and Uganda nursing school Bwindi which are direct beneficiaries of the tourism industry.
Bwindi hospital was rated as one of the best hospitals in Uganda, specifically for providing quality healthcare by the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau.
The tourists also visited the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National park (QENP) too see the famous tree climbing lions. and the main QENP.
At the Queen Elizabeth national park, Uganda’s most popular and scenic, they were able to see buffalos, hippos, elephants, antelopes, lions, Ugandan Kobs, leopards and over various bird species.
Tourism is Uganda’s single largest export earner and generator of foreign exchange, at USD 979 million per annum (UBOS, 2013). This represents more than twice the earnings of coffee, the country’s second biggest export.
According to the Tourism master plan (2014-2024), more than 150,000 additional jobs will be created in the tourism industry by 2024.