Tourism bosses, UPDF clash over ADF announcements

20 Mar 2024

Key players in the tourism industry have expressed over the recent announcement by the military about the infiltration of ADF rebels into the country.

The tourism officials say the communication by the army was bad for business as it kept foreign travellers away from the country.

The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has thus requested for Shs5b to engage international media in order to counter the threat posed to Uganda’s tourism sector, following the pronouncement by UPDF that the ADF rebels had infiltrated into Uganda, with an intention to carry out revenge attacks.

UTB said that tourists have already started cancelling their bookings following these reports.

Early this week, the army said a number of top ADF commanders had crossed into the country with intentions of attacking various places.

Last year, ADF rebels killed two tourists and a driver in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The army later said those who commanded the attack had been killed.

Whereas the army said they had no option but to warn the public because it would be worse if the rebels killed more people, UTB was of a divergent view.

Lilly Ajarova, the UTB CEO, said: “So now, we have to counter that and that means, from that press release we are going to get more negative travel advisories that will come up, so we must be able to counter that by bringing more international media people who can be able to verify that it is safe and then they are able to report back.”

Renowned tourism guru Amos Wekesa said: “I am a strong believer in the potential of UPDF to deal with any situation in this country and it’s for two reasons; They have some of the best trained professionals plus they get a big part of tax payers money.

But the continuous use of the word terrorism kills business.

Leadership spends so much efforts looking for foreign investors but continues to undermine their own efforts.

Foreign investors also come for business and a country that continues to communicate badly can mainly attract those who use our money to risk investments.
The moment the word terrorism is used, insurance is rendered useless, the embassies issue negative travel advisories.

That affects uganda as a tourism destination plus no business traveler wants to come to uganda.

Conferences coming to Uganda are channeled elsewhere.

The last four years have had COVID19, Ebola, ADF etc and we haven’t worked industry which is sad.

We have struggled keeping jobs.

Next year is dead because it’s a political year and this was the only year we were hoping to use to save to keep businesses afloat.

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