Ugandans yesterday celebrated World Tourism Day at Golf Course Lutobboka-Ssese in Kalangala district, one of the famous islands on Lake Victoria. The World Tourism Day falls on September 27, every year.
The Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi was the chief celebrant at the event held under the theme, ‘Unlocking Uganda’s Tourism Potential for Sustainable Development’, and attended by both local and international dignitaries, among them Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu and his Deputy Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi and the Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda, Henk Jan Bakker.
Ssekandi, who represented President Museveni, said sustainable tourism was important for development and job creation. He also called upon Ugandans to preserve the environment and other ecosystems including forests, national parks and water bodies.
During the celebrations, Ssekandi lauded 92-year old Andrinico Magatto, the first person to establish a commercial accommodation facility on Ssese Islands.
In his speech tourism minister Kamuntu stressed the role of sustainable tourism in Uganda’s development and asked Ugandans to embrace local tourism.
The celebration of this World Tourism Day focuses on how sustainable tourism can contribute to development, and reports indicate that Uganda’s current tourism receipts stand at an estimated US$1.4 billion. Government says it wants to add more strategies to raise that figure to US$2.7 billion by 2020, which should see tourist figures rise from current 1.3 million to four million by 2020.
Local tour and travel companies like Jumia Travel and others participated at the event organised by Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the Uganda Tourism Board.
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and following that proclamation it is estimated that tourism will continue to grow at an average of 3.3% annually until 2030.
Globally, over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification, and it has become one of the fastest growing and most important economic sectors in the world, benefiting destinations and communities worldwide. International tourist arrivals worldwide have grown from 25 million in 1950 to nearly 1.2 billion in 2015.
International tourism revenues earned by destinations around the world have grown from US$2 billion in 1950 to US$1260 trillion in 2015, with the sector representing an estimated 10% of the world’s GDP and one in 10 jobs globally.