David Musingo, UWEC's Manager of Education and Information Department, says the visitor numbers are still low, compared to the daily average of 500 visitors on weekdays and 2,000 on weekends before the outbreak of covid-19.
The Uganda Wildlife Education and Conservation Centre – UWEC is struggling
with the low numbers of visitors.
UWEC reopened in August after spending five months under lock and
key following the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease-COVID-19 in the country.
The centre, which has over 600 animal and bird species, was closed on
According to records, UWEC has been receiving less than 100
visitors during weekdays and about 1,000 visitors on weekends in the past seven
Before the outbreak of COVID-19, the zoo would attract close to
400,000 visitors a year. It would receive an average of 1,000 visitors daily.
Most of these visitors were school children and foreign tourists.
David Musingo, UWEC's Manager of Education and Information Department, says
the visitor numbers are still low, compared to the daily average of
500 visitors on weekdays and 2,000 on weekends before the outbreak of covid-19.
He explains that from August 2020, the centre was
expected to receive 300 to 2,000 visitors a day. But it has
received 50 to 80 visitors on a weekday and 1,000 to 1,500 visitors
during the weekends.
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According to Musingo, currently, there are mainly local tourists
and families that are visiting the zoo because of the staggered reporting of
learners and the decline in the number of international passengers via Entebbe
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Musingo says that the low numbers of visitors have affected the
revenue. He explains that the centre collects an average of 100 million shillings
a month from gate collections compared to the monthly average of 500 million
Shillings before covid-19.
James Musinguzi, the Executive Director of UWEC noted last year that
the centre made a loss of about 2 Billion Shillings during the five months it
was closed. UWEC’s annual budget is 5 Billion Shillings and it covers salaries,
maintenance of facilities and feeding of the wildlife.
Musinguzi says that the centre has so far received over 2 Billion
from the government during the pandemic.
UWEC is open to the public from 8:30 am to 5 pm every day. However,
impromptu visitors were banned from accessing the centre to avoid
congestion. The centre limits the number of visitors to ensure social
distancing and regular disinfection of public spaces.
It only admits 300 visitors a day. However, only 100 people access the centre
at a given time. Only visitors aged 7 years and above are allowed because
they must wear face masks. Visitors will also not be allowed to interact
with wildlife, especially animals and will only be allowed on the condition
that they make cashless payments.