Move to any corner of this country and one word will cut across most conversations- Budget. Having witnessed Finance Minister Hon. Matia Kasaija read the 2018/2019 budget to an eagerly waiting audience of lawmakers, foreign dignitories and other stake holders, majority of the public simply focussed on the newly introduced taxes on social media and mobile money transactions and have since spent most of their time wallowing in self pity in anticipation of its aftermath and overlooking the gains registered there in. However, for anyone that understands the tourism sector, there is a lot to celebrate and look forward to in this new financial year.
Uganda is endowed with lakes and rivers generously spread across every region with Lake Victoria and the Nile standing out and as such enjoying the lion's share of visitors coming from within and across the boarders. It is clear to see however that these numerous water bodies are still under utilized with water transport still enjoyed by a small section of tourists and the general population despite being relatively cheaper than travel by road. This is soon to be a thing of the past as taxes on import of boats have been slashed close to zero. This definitely translates into more importation of modern boats and other water vessels and will hopefully attract more players to this field.
Also highlighted in the budget was the massive leap made towards improved road access . Like never before, the road infrastructure has seen expansion with the completion of multiple roads including the Entebbe Express Highway that guarantee quicker and comfortable travel to any destination across the country. And with the 2018/19 budget allocating the biggest portion of the pie to works and transport, what better gift to ask for.
Tourism continues to register colossal earnings annually with an ever growing portion of the budget financed by the sector. It is crystal clear that resources are trickling down directly to the various tourist sites and attractions with this cash cow continuing to prove pivotal in this expanding economy. Tourists to Kalagala and Itanda tourism sites for instance, have reason to celebrate as funds have specifically been set aside for their development and a lot more sites will in the near future follow suite.
It is evident to all that giant strides are being made towards consolidating Uganda's place as a top tourist destination that any travel enthusiast ought to have on their list of must visit places on the planet. Have you visited yet?