President Yoweri Museveni has asked the Private Sector players to invest in the development of untapped tourism resources in Northern Uganda especially Fort Patiko, Wodelai, Dufile, Lututulu, Palabek, Rock Art sites among others.
The president equally urged the private sector to put in place educational recreation services in all museums located in the entire region adding that the move shall make Uganda attractive not only to international tourists but also to domestic tourists.
He made the call in a speech read for him by Vice President Jessica Alupo during celebrations to the mark the International Museum Day 2023 in Gulu city organized under the theme, “Museums our Heritage”
Museveni further said that the improvement of connectivity through the development of tourism roads, the revival of the national carrier, Uganda Airlines the conservation of heritage places as well as the promotion and showcasing of the potential of museums will diversify Uganda’s tourism offering, thus accelerating the national socio-economic growth.
He reiterated that the development of museums is a firm foundation for the dissemination of skills, knowledge, and information inherited from our great-grandparents in the advancement of civilization and technological innovation such as herbal medicine, architecture, and creative and performing arts which were used to solve societal problems, promote cultural tourism and empowerment of citizens to live in harmony.
He implored new cities like Gulu, Lira, Arua, Soroti, Fort Portal among others, to develop leisure and sports facilities that accommodate infrastructural developments of museums, to enable tourists to explore the country and equally helps in showcasing the cultures of this country.
Museveni further noted that museums in this country should be centers of showcasing the beautiful environment, memory, diversity, inclusivity, and socio-economic transformation.
He stressed that Uganda stands alone as a beautiful country endowed with diverse natural and cultural heritage.
Museveni said in northern Uganda, there are several tourism sites like Fort Patiko, Murchison Falls National Park, Aruu Falls, Lututuru hills, and Kabalega-Mwanga sites with rich ancient historical and archaeological information to be packaged for tourism development.
He told the congregation that Government has now prioritized the development of supportive infrastructure to catalyze investments and the development of these sites.
“I am reliably informed that through sustainable conservation of Nature and Cultural Heritage, communities through PDM can benefit from the creation of one village one product model, based on iconic heritage sites within our villages/parishes. For instance, I encourage the local communities to come up with handcrafts unique to their clans or totems that can be sold at these heritage touristic sites,” the president added.
The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Col. Tom Butime explained that the Tourism Programme is alive to the 2021-2026 NRM manifesto which recognizes tourism as an important source of growth with great potential for employment creation and foreign exchange earnings.
Evidence available indicates that Tourism has been growing consistently since the restoration of peace and security, and the sector continued to be the leading foreign exchange earner contributing US$1.37 billion, as well as UGX 6.17 trillion to Uganda’s GDP and employing over 6% of Uganda’s labor force.
Butime explained that the aim of the Museums and Monuments Act 2023 passed by Parliament this year, will consolidate and reform the law concerning the conservation of natural and cultural heritage; strengthen the management of cultural and natural heritage, classify museums, preserve and develop museums and monuments, the tangible and intangible heritage and also collect creative works of art.
He said Article 15 (1) provides for the establishment of city, regional, and district museums in Uganda.
“Therefore, our purpose for celebrating this year’s International Museum at Gulu city is to lay the foundation for the cities in Uganda to embrace developing museums as products for cultural tourism attraction,” Butime said.
A day earlier, in commemoration of thr day, various high Value Tourism Opportunities In Northern Uganda had been highlighted.
Meanwhile Doreen .S. Katusiime the Permanent Secretary in the Tourism Ministry mentioned
Fort Patiko, which is within the vicinity of Gulu City marks a very important slave trade trail, which includes Fort Dufile (Moyo District) and Fort Wadelai (Nebbi District); in West Nile.
“All the three sites host adequate land for top-notch tourism concessions”, she said.
The PS also made special focus on Soroti Museum with four (4) acres for tourism concessions. “The most important factor to note; is that the Soroti Museum sits on prime land in the heart of the Soroti urban centre”, Katusime said.
Other high value land for tourism concessions for Rock Art Sites are in Nyero (Kumi District), Mukongoro (Kumi District), Kakoro (Palisa District), Komuge (Bukedea District), Kapir (Ngora District).
The designation and inclusion of Napak (Karamoja region) in the first 100 International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) Geological Heritage Sites was also highlighted.
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