By Isa Kato
Tourism is the most effective means for the transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. Done conscientiously it brings opportunity, fosters mutual affection and benefits the visited as much as the visitor.
Needless to say, tourism is a greater tool in fighting poverty, create employment, infrastructure development, cultural exchange and contribution to the national GDP at the macro scale.
In order to guarantee the continued benefits from both Mass and Niche Tourism, Sustainable Tourism was introduced.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) whose mandate is to promote responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism defines sustainable tourism as a form of tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts.
Sustainable tourism addresses the needs of visitors, the industry and the host communities. The concept seeks to strike a balance between these elements to ensure long term sustainability and positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved in the tourism value chain.
It is commendable by the government of Uganda’s efforts in promoting sustainable Tourism through Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities (MTWA).
The Uganda Tourism Board an agency responsible for promoting Brand Uganda recently launched the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo slated next year; 23rd May 2024 in Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort with a theme: “Responsible Tourism” as a sign of the Country’s commitment to responsible tourism practices.
I am appealing to government to continue working collaboratively with key stakeholders including Association of Uganda Tour operators (AUTO), Uganda hotel owners (UHOA), Uganda Community Tourism Associations (UCOTA), Women in Tourism associations, etc to ensure that sustainable tourism principles are effectively implemented throughout the industry.
It is also important to embark on enhanced promotion of responsible tourism practices, development of educational content, certifications and memberships.
This approach does not only benefit the environment and local communities but strengthens Uganda’s position in the global tourism market.
As tourism practitioners, it is important that we emphasize sustainable tourism practices as we put together our tourism products and services in order to form an edge in appealing to the environmentally conscious travelers and to contribute to the long-term well-being of our tourism destinations.
In simple terms, consider highlighting to work with only ecofriendly accommodations, supporting local communities and promotion of responsible Wildlife experiences.
In other words, a modern traveler is interested in knowing the welfare of a hotel cleaner, the responsible practices to mitigate environmental impact, your contribution in preserving the natural habitats and wildlife and support of conservation efforts before they can choose you as their travel partner.
It is thus essential that we emphasize responsible tourism for not only attracting tourists but also to ensure experiential satisfaction of visitors who have chosen to explore Uganda.
Isa Kato is the Managing Director of Pristine Tours Ltd. He is a Member of the Board of Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO)