PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has strongly encouraged tourists globally to visit the African continent in general and Uganda in particular as the country enjoys the best climate in the world.
The President was on Wednesday opening the 39th World Congress of African Travel Association (UTA) at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo, near Kampala.
The 5-day conference that is running under the theme ‘Tourism is Everyone’s Business’ has attracted local, regional and international delegates who are engaged in the tourism industry worldwide and who are also brought together under the umbrella of ATA.
African Travel Association, founded in 1975, is a registered non-profit Association in the United States of America, headquartered in New York. It has branches around the world and has so far signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union with the aim of promoting tourism in Africa.
President Museveni added that all parts of Africa are miracles. Tropical forests, huge lakes, rivers, snow capped mountains like the Rwenzori and even in the deserts oases are found that, among many others, are tourist attractions.
He, therefore, called on tourists to take advantage of the beautiful climate in Africa and Uganda as well as neighboring countries in East Africa and visit the land that does not require any air-conditioning like those in Europe and other parts of the world.
Mr. Museveni informed delegates that historically, Africa is also the cradle of humankind, civilization and the main religious groups that include Christianity and Islam.
Commenting on faith based tourism, President Museveni noted that it’s quite a vibrant one and Uganda benefits from it citing the 3rd of June of every year when over a million pilgrims from all over the world flock to Namungongo Martyrs’ shrine to commemorate Martyrs’ Day.
The President also observed that peace is prevailing in most parts of Africa adding that pockets of conflict and strange diseases cannot severely affect the tourism industry.
He pointed out that other challenges to infrastructure for tourism, such as hotels, have been addressed and others such as air, land and water transport are being worked on.
The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Ms. Maria Mutagamba, hoped that challenges affecting tourism like lack of adequate media publicity would be addressed.
The ATA Executive, Uganda Chapter, Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, called on the local and international media, to portray Africa positively in their publicity in order to attract more tourists.
The Executive Director of ATA, Mr. Edward Bergman, pledged to promote public-private partnership to make the tourism industry flourish in Africa. He thanked President Museveni for his support to the industry.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Ministers from neighboring countries, diplomats and all stake holders in the tourism industry, among others.