Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on June 24,2013 held talks with the World Tourism boss Mr. Taleb Rifai to discuss the future of tourism sector in the country.
President Museveni promised that government will promote tourism but observed that poverty was the major problem which forces people to encroach on protected areas, destroy nature as well as tourism sites. The meeting at State House Entebbe was attended the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Dr. Maria Mutagamba while Uganda Wildlife Authority was represented by Mr. Charles Tumwesigye, the Chief Conservation Area Manager(CCAM)
"Tourism is being interfered with by human activities, help us to protect our forests,swamps,lakes and the River Nile from encroachers and tourism will thrive in Uganda, "remarked the President.
Mr. Museveni noted that while Ugandans are not necessarily enemies of the environment, they depend nature for their survival due to underdevelopment. He added that sensitization alongside industrialization will create jobs and relieve pressure on natural resources.
Mr. Rifai commended the President and government for the great strides and successes the country has taken in the tourism sector. He however appealed to the President to create more awareness among the citizens about the importance of tourism and its potential. He noted that tourism earns revenue and creates employment for many Ugandans and other people the world- over but there was lack of knowledge with the population about the importance of the sector, an issue he said should be addressed by government.
Said the UNWTO boss, "Tourism is resource for tomorrow. The world should preserve, protect and promote it. People need the facts so that they feel that tourism is for their benefit and should support it," Rifai observed. He pledged that UNWTO will work with Government to promote tourism in Uganda.