United Nations Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative remarks at launch of the Uganda Tourism Association Strategic Plan 2014-2019 Kampala
It’s great to be among so many proud supporters of Ugandan tourism.
I’d like to start by acknowledging the Right Honourable Prime Minister (Mr. Amama Mbabaazi) and the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (Mrs. Maria Mutagambwa).
I’d like also to acknowledge the MPs, Ambassadors and other development partners present.
In particular, I’d like to salute the President of the Uganda Tourism Association (Mr Herbert Byaruhanga) and all the other members of the Association for developing this Strategic Plan, and for your tireless efforts in making Uganda one of the most preferred tourism destinations in Africa and in the world.
Tourism has emerged as one of Uganda’s biggest exports, bringing in nearly USD$ 1.1billion (2013) in annual revenue.
Properly structured, tourism can create opportunities for economic growth, poverty reduction, human development and community transformation.
Tourism offers avenue for employment to hundreds of unemployed youth that graduate from universities and other tertiary in this country; as well as opportunities to start their own businesses and hopefully become members of the Uganda Tourism Association one day.
For every one US dollar spent by a tourist, four jobs in Uganda are created, according to research by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Women and men too, have more chances of taking better care of their families; provide quality education for their children, be able to take care of the elderly and disabled, and afford proper healthcare, and good nutrition.
We are already seeing some of these benefits from our collaboration with government and other actors in the tourism sector. But what especially makes tourism such a valuable commodity, is that it is also a sustainable and renewable resource. We must not forget to protect the environment and other natural resources that make this country such a beautiful place to visit.
Converting comparative advantages in tourism into competitiveness also requires a coherent policy framework, effective and efficient institutions, and a proactive private sector.
To this end, we wish to acknowledge the government's efforts towards revising the policy and regulatory framework for the sector in order to facilitate the growth of the tourism industry, as well as strategically positioning the country as a competitive tourist destination.
We greatly value the active involvement of the private sector as a key partner in development, and more particularly in tourism, which has emerged as one of the key economic pillars in the ongoing formulation of the second National Development Plan.
As a vital driver of innovation, investment and job creation, the role of private sector is crucial in advancing the progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and on the post-2015 development agenda.
We are proud to have partnered with the Uganda Tourism Association, to develop this five year Strategic Plan that is being launched today, as a roadmap to harness private sector-led national initiatives in promoting sustainable tourism.
UNDP has also provided support to establish the UTA Secretariat that will implement this plan as well as other efforts to re-position the private sector as a key partner and collaborator.
As we consider the road that unfolds before us, I call on government and the tourism private sector to work in partnership and to continue engaging with local communities to develop tourism that is pro-poor, inclusive, community-oriented and sustainable.
I would like to thank the Government of Uganda, and particularly the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities; and Uganda Tourism Board, for the excellent partnership we have enjoyed over the years.
I would also like to commend the commitment and passion of the members of the Uganda Tourism Association for preparing this Strategic Plan.
We very much look forward to continue working with you, the government of Uganda, and other national partners in making sure this country continues to remain the tourism postcard of Africa.
I thank you.