UTB Wants 20 Billion to Promote Tourism
By Adiga Julius
Uganda Tourism Board ( UTB) seeks an additional 20BN Shillings to run its activities for the next financial of 2020-2021.
Appearing before the parliamentary committee on Trade and Industries this week, the Executive Director for Uganda Tourism Board Lilly Ajorova noted that they have got many unfunded priorities that need to be financed so as to develop the tourism sector in Uganda.
She said the board is constrained to fulfill its goals under the current 25BN budget allocated annually to fully meet the entity’s mandate.
“we are asking parliament for an additional 20 billion shillings as an addition to the current 25 billion provided for the unfunded priorities” Ajavora noted.
She highlighted digital marketing, content development and understaffing among others as one of the unfunded priorities the board that require funding.
Ajarova also revealed that by the last quarter of this the year UTB will be grading all the hotels in Uganda so as to help tourists to identify their classes before booking to come to Uganda.
She said the information regarding grades will be uploaded on the website of the Uganda tourism board for ease of access to potential clients.
“Our objective is to improve and grow the tourism sector in Uganda” she said.
UTB has the mandate to regulate the tourism sector, to make sure high-quality services are provided by industry stakeholders, but also to market Uganda both nationally and internationally.
“The budget we get is quite low for us to fully meet the mandate as expected yet we are rolling out a new brand for Uganda in the next financial year” she said.
Ajarova added that digital marketing is another key way of marketing the country, which requires development of real-time content about Uganda’s tourism potential such as cultural sites, the national parks, and museums among others.
As part of the digital content, she said high-quality photographs and videos are created and shared online.
Ajorova noted that they need to recruit more staff to be able to fulfill the board’s objectives and activities.
The board she says also has staffing gaps which affects the day to day running of activities as per their mandate.
However the Chairperson of the committee Robert Kasule Sebunya said though the entity is a cash cow of Uganda’s economy, the committee is constrained to allocate 20BN required due to a small resource envelope allocated to the tourism sector.
“Every entity as far as the budget is concerned has unfunded priorities, and UTB is no an exception. What we know is that we are constrained to endorse the additional funding” Hon Kibirige said.
He said as a committee they will provide the board with at least 3 billion Uganda shillings, which the tourism board can use to fund the most crucial areas within the entity.