The number of tourists coming to Uganda from the UK and Ireland has surpassed previous years’ records despite the recent Ebola outbreak.
A statement from the Uganda High Commission in London said there were increased applications for Uganda immigration entry visas averaging about 50 applications per day. The peak was in May-June when applications reached the 80 per day mark.
The outgoing High Commissioner, Joan Rwabyomere, attributed this to the prevailing peace in the country and the distinctive attraction of Uganda as a tourist destination arising out of the variety of its game stock and its unspoilt scenic beauty.
She noted that the tourism industry had grown enormously in Uganda with clearly visible features including improved service delivery, facilities and awareness.
Uganda generally has substantial natural resources for tourism with a variety of landscape and ecosystems, climates and cultures.
Rwabyomere added that the Uganda Mission had the capacity to process the high numbers of applications.
Individual and group applications are processed in one working day with collection being on the next day between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Applications received through the Post take up to a week to be processed.
Tourism in Uganda is an important generator of foreign exchange, high-end employment, and investment.
According to the World Economic Forum, the sector contributed over shs1.5 trillion ($660m), 8 per cent contribution to Gross Domestic Product in 2010.
The Government has therefore encouraged increased investment in tourism, particularly in travel, accommodation and related facilities because this enhances tourists’ experience in the country.