Uganda Reclaims Full Membership in UNWTO, Boosting Prospects for Tourism Growth

The Ugandan government has officially reinstated its full membership status within the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as announced during the ongoing UNWTO General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Hon. Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, the Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities, shared this news on October 18, 2023, through a social media post, expressing his pleasure at Uganda regaining its full membership status.

This reinstatement holds great significance for Uganda’s tourism industry, anticipated to unlock additional support, partnerships, and opportunities. It solidifies the country’s position as an attractive destination for global travelers, promising a positive trajectory for its tourism sector.

Over the past decade, Uganda’s tourism sector has experienced substantial growth due to investments from both the government and private stakeholders. The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities reported a notable increase in tourist arrivals, reaching 814,508 in 2022 compared to 473,085 in 2021.

The UNWTO, the UN’s specialized agency for promoting responsible and sustainable tourism, holds its General Assembly biennially. The ongoing assembly, taking place from October 16 to October 20, is crucial for discussing global tourism matters, approving budgets, and electing a Secretary-General every four years.

Uganda’s tourism growth is evident in impressive statistics, such as a rise in foreign exchange earnings from $1.2 billion to $1.32 billion in the fiscal year 2020/21. The sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP also increased slightly from 2.9% to 3.1% during the same period.

President Yoweri Museveni’s launch earlier this year of the “Explore Uganda, the Pearl of Africa” brand has significantly contributed to Uganda’s appeal as a preferred tourism destination in Africa. Recognized by the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), this brand positions Uganda as a diverse and competitive destination, offering unique experiences for tourists and investors alike.

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