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Northern Uganda Opens Up for Tourism

With the return of peace to the war-afflicted region, a number of tourist sites, both historical and natural are opening up for tourists.
Tourism watchers say northern Uganda is steadily becoming an attractive tourists’ destination.

 

With the return of peace to the war-afflicted region, a number of tourist sites, both historical and natural are opening up for tourists.

 

Emmanuel Barigo from Mahali Africa Consult, a local firm promoting tourism in northern Uganda, says the region is registering more tourist visits unlike before.

 

Barigo says Mahali Africa Consult and oil firm Total E & P have teamed up to create the Northern Uganda Tourism Information Centre to provide timely and relevant information to tourists.

 

He says although they are yet to compile the tourist numbers, the volumes are high, especially in Murchison National Falls Park.

 

According to Barigo, the hotels and camps in the park are fully booked all year round.

 

Barigo says the biggest challenge they are facing is how to meet the needs of low-end tourists, most of whom prefer to stay on the fringes of the park. He says there are too few rest places near the park and yet the demand is high. So far only two tourist camps have been built near the park.

 

Barigo says there is need for individuals, particularly locals, to take advantage of the tourism opportunities to set up facilities like camps, hotels and transport to tap into the growing market.

 

According to Barigo, Murchison, the biggest and most diverse national park in Uganda, should attract the most number of tourists if promoted.

 

To boost tourism in the region, Tourism Uganda, has chosen Gulu as host of this year’s tourism day and week to showcase what the region offers. Focus will be on nature, culture and history.

 

Some of the major tourist attractions being promoted are forts Patiko and Wadelai, Luo migration reconstruction, Luo royal sites in Zombo and Nebbi, natural sceneries like landscape, falls and hot springs. Also to be promoted are culture, music, dance and folklore like of the Karimojong and Nubians, the birthplace of Olympic gold medalist Akii Bua and much more.

 

Bernard Atiku, the Ayivu County MP who also runs a tours and travel company, says with the return of peace in the region the government and tour operators should promote tourism as one way of fighting poverty.

 

Atiku says it would be good if communities in the region, especially those near the tourist sites are empowered like those in Kenya and Tanzania.

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