Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Jinja City Authority have concluded plans to develop Jinja as a gateway tourism city in the Eastern part of Uganda.
The plans are a result of the meeting held between the UTB, Jinja City Council officials and the Private Sector at the Jinja City Hall under the theme: “Showcasing Tourism Potential for Jinja City”.
The meeting chaired by Acting Jinja Town Clerk, John Gulooba Choli, was attended by the UTB Delegation led by UTB Chairman, Hon. Daudi Migereko, Vice-Chairperson Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, Directors, Management of the Board and Jinja City Tourism Officer, Simon Kayite.
The stakeholder engagement meeting highlighted the challenges faced by the tourism sector in the city as well as strategies to mitigate the hurdles ahead of the recovery of the tourism industry.
It comes at a time when UTB is profiling Entebbe, Kampala and Jinja to identify potential tourism sites in these cities, discover tourism opportunities therein, and potential investment areas and promote them as potential tourist destinations.
Mr Gulooba Choli presented key issues affecting the tourism sector in Jinja and the Busoga region which included limited government funding for tourism activities, inadequate tourism infrastructure and awareness of the tourism products available in Jinja city.
In his remarks, Hon. Migereko noted the sorry state of the infrastructure in Jinja and added that there was an urgent need to develop a sound maintenance program for key access roads to tourism hotspots such as Bridge Street and the Source of the Nile.
Furthermore, the UTB Chairman highlighted the need to curate, authenticate and standardize the information shared by tour guides at these attractions for an exceptional tourism experience for travelers.
UTB’s Tourism City Development Plans have earmarked the development of Jinja as a gateway tourism city in the financial Year 2022/23.
The plan dubbed the Entebbe-Kampala-Jinja Project will highlight the available tourism and investment opportunities in the three cities but also position them as model cities for tourism development across the country.
Ms Lilly Ajarova, UTB Chief Executive Officer, added that the Board had recruited three consultants to profile the cities, showcase the available tourism and investment opportunities as well as the enhancement of existing services.
She also added that the tourism opportunities in Jinja City such as adventure and cultural tourism would position Uganda as a unique destination for an adventure of a lifetime.
Adding that this means that Uganda will continue to be the favourite travel destinations in the world, Through travel companies like Gorilla Safaris in Uganda, tourists will continue enjoying unique features like mountain gorillas, big five games, water bodies like the Source of the Nile River, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, birds, among others.
In particular, Ms Ajarova pointed out white water rafting, tubing, bungee jumping, cycling, horse riding and other adrenaline sports tourism activities that are unique to Jinja City.
She was pleased that the UTB Delegation would experience these tourism products while in the city.
On her side, Mrs. Susan Muhwezi, UTB Vice-Chairperson, noted that there was a need to engage all tourism sector stakeholders ahead of the development and implementation of the plans in collaboration with the city authorities.
She also mentioned that the Government of Uganda is discussing the taxation issues faced by the tourism sector so that the country remains competitive ahead of recovery.