Ugandans told to forget oil and concentrate on agriculture
the best entertainment city in East Africa and Bwindi Park voted as a birdlife destination in Africa.
Uganda was represented by 14 tourism stakeholders who included tour operators, hospitality operators who teamed up with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and UTB to sell their country as a destination of the Big 5 plus 2 (Gorillas and Chimpanzees).
Jacinta Nzioka from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said they have been stating their position of Kenya being a hub of business in the EAC region, including tourism, at the Indaba.
Their stand branded locally as “Asambe Kenya” which means Tembea Kenya has a multitude of key tourism stakeholders drawn from across the country from the white beaches in Diani and Mombasa to the capital Nairobi.
Kenya’s international flight bookings to the country had increased by more than 20 per cent, she said, and the extra numbers are credited to the government’s reduction of park entry fees and the waiving of visa fees for children under 16.
The charter incentive scheme announced by the government last year, according to Nzioka, continues to attract airlines. Many of which are expected to resume flights in the tourist season. The Singaporean minister of state for trade and industry has advised Uganda not to be excited by the potential prospects the oil industry seems to present.
According to Dr Koh Poh Koon, much as oil has the potential to turn around Uganda’s economy, agriculture remains the country’s strength because it is where Uganda has a natural comparative advantage.
He added that the government of Uganda should not lose sight of the agricultural sector to the mining and extractive industry as a result of the newly discovered oil deposits.
Dr Koon, who was on a state visit to explore growth opportunities as well as strengthen the trade relations between his country and Uganda, was speaking during a meeting with his Ugan- dan counterpart Amelia Kyambadde at her office in Kampala last week.
In a statement issued last week by the ministry, Dr Koon said: “Uganda is doing a good job in carrying out organic farming and I encourage the country to develop its agricultural sector, market the agricultural products so that it becomes the world’s market for organic products.”
He continued: “The benefits of oil mining and refinery are numerous, but be cautious about its challenges or risk factors.”
In response, Ms Kyambadde said Uganda is an agricultural based economy and its location at the heart of regional economic blocs such as the EAC-ComesaSADC, a tripartite Free Trade Area, provided it with vast market potential and increased trade opportunities for the country and its trade partners.