By Ronaldo Kalangi
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has blamed Uganda Tourism Board and Embassies for not doing their work to promote and lure more tourists to visit Uganda which has weakened the foreign exchange. The commander in Chief said this on Friday while passing out of 487 wildlife ranger recruits at Paraa Ranger Training School, Purongo Sub-county, Nwoya District.
The rangers who under went a four-month training session gained skills in first aid, basic intelligence, community intelligence, community conservation concepts, law related to wildlife among others.
“I congratulate the Uganda Wildlife Authority for building man power to protect the parks. Lawlessness in the parks is going down and the benefits are visible. For example, the elephant population has gone up. Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and our Embassies should market our country’s uniqueness. We must work towards increasing the numbers of tourists visiting Uganda from the current two million annually,” he said.
About the roads in the parks, Museveni said that there should be a master plan on fixing them. “The government will find the money. The Karuma-Pakwach road was made to ease access to South Sudan but it has also greatly boosted tourism. More such roads will be built,” he explained.
Museveni said that it does not make sense for a tourist going to Murchison Falls to first land in Entebbe. They could land in Gulu or in Soroti for those touring the Elgon area. The airstrips in these places, including Kasese, will be upgraded to support tourism.
On the question of conflicts between the animals and communities neighbouring parks, there are many ways to check this, he said. The communities could engage in activities that naturally would keep the animals at bay, like bee-keeping, tea-growing, cultivating red pepper, among others.
He also promised that government wound look for money to erect the electric fence where it is possible to do so.
The laws against poaching should be strengthened. I am also glad to learn that you have introduced dogs at the airport to sniff ivory. I have instructed the Uganda Revenue Authority to acquire scanners which can look through all vehicles at the borders.
I will direct the minister of health to build a health centre in Para Safari Lodge to serve the workers, the community and the tourists.