Reports obtained by Uganda Radio Network-URN obtained indicates that between July and August, a total of 301 tourists visited Kidepo National Park shortly after lockdown measures were lifted by government. In July in particular, there were 88 visitors while 213 tourists visited the National Park in August according to the reports.
Kidepo Valley National Park in
Northern Uganda has begun witnessing a surge in numbers of domestic visitors.
This comes just two months after
government lifted lockdown measures instituted between March to June this year
restricting movements within and outside the country to curb the spread of
the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
A report obtained by Uganda Radio
Network - URN indicates that between July and August, a total of 301 tourists
visited Kidepo National Park shortly after lockdown measures were lifted by
government. In July in particular, there were 88 visitors, while 213 tourists
visited the National Park in August, according to the report.
Richard Muhabwe, the Kidepo Valley
National Park Chief Warden told URN in an interview on Thursday that out of the
visits in just two months, there have been a significant growth among the domestic
For instance, Muhabwe says out of
the 301 tourists who visited the National Park, 246 were Ugandan nationals,
while 55 were foreign tourists who were resident or got trapped in the country due to the COVID-19
He says although the turnout is still
low compared to tourist visits before the COVID-19 pandemic, the signs are
clear that the locals are beginning to appreciate the country’s beauty and willing
to spend money on tourism.
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Muhabwe says there is need to
boost marketing of domestic tourism in National parks so that revenue
earnings don’t fall drastically in case of global uncertainty such as
COVID-19 that affects the easy movement of foreigners from visiting the
He adds that ever since the National Park was reopened
for tourists to visit, Uganda Wildlife Authority - UWA have instituted strict
adherence to standard operating procedures within the Park to ensure safety of
visitors and wildlife.
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Monthly, about 3,000 tourists
visit Kidepo Valley National park out of which nearly half are Ugandans and
residents from East African Community countries.
Muhabwe says they are optimistic
that the revenue will grow once foreign tourist starts trickling into the
country with the reopening of the Airport and borders.
Between July and August alone,
Kidepo Valley National Park which hosts over 75 species of mammals and
470 species of birds earned Shillings 54 million from gate collections
from the 301 tourists that visited the wildlife park.
Justine Nelson Okeny, a Public Relations
Officer at Acholi Tourism Cluster says COVID-19 pandemic has woken up government,
in particular Uganda Tourism Board to strengthen the promotion of Domestic
Tourism. He says of late there has been increased domestic tourists in Northern
Uganda, all thanks to the renewed efforts by the Tourism Ministry to promote
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Whereas the country’s past
tourism promotions have heavily relied on attracting foreign tourists, the
tourism Ministry recently also made a shift in drawing attention of the local
citizens in a bid to grow the domestic tourism sector.
Recently, Uganda Tourism Board
launched a domestic tourism campaign dubbed ‘Take On The Pearl’, as part of
promoting local tourism.
Tourism industry still remains the
country’s biggest foreign income earner, with the sector earning about 5.8 trillion
shillings in the financial year 2018/2019.