KAMPALA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- As the world commemorated World Tourism Day (WTD) Wednesday, Uganda announced that the tourism sector in the country is on a path to recovery, although it has not yet returned to pre-COVID-19 data.
During an event held by the Ugandan government in the country's western district of Hoima under the theme "Tourism and Green Investments," Vice President Jessica Alupo said that the theme was chosen to represent the country's dreams, aspirations, and intentions as "we invest in sustainable projects that coexist alongside the ecosystem."
"In Uganda today, we deeply recognize the power and potential of tourism in advancing prosperity, especially within the tourism communities that drive sustainable development," Alupo added.
Uganda is home to 10 National Parks and 12 Game Reserves, along with unique cultural sites, food, traditions, the warmth of the Ugandan people, and stories to share at almost every turn, the vice president noted.
Tourism is one of Uganda's major foreign exchange earners, contributing approximately 5 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), according to data from the Ministry of Finance. The growth of the tourism industry, however, was significantly affected by the pandemic.
"The Financial Year 2022/23 was a recovery year for our tourism industry, which was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full reopening of the economy provided an opportunity for Uganda to reposition itself as a global tourism destination," said Tom Butime, minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, ahead of World Tourism Day.
Uganda is well-known for its rich flora and fauna, with the endangered mountain gorillas being the country's flagship tourism product. Uganda hosts more than half of the world's mountain gorillas.
According to the Tourism Development Program Annual Performance Report for the 2022/2023 period, the outlook for Uganda's tourism sector in 2023 appears optimistic due to the full reopening of key tourism source markets. China, India, and the United States are among the top 12 source markets.