President Yoweri Museveni has asked the private sector to invest in the development of untapped tourism potentials in Northern Uganda.
Museveni says the region is beautifully endowed with diverse natural and cultural heritage and deserves to be developed for tourism.
In a speech read for him by Vice President Rtd. Maj Jessica Alupo on Thursday at the International Museum Day Celebration held at Kaunda Play Grounds in Gulu City, Museveni cited tourist sites like Fort Patiko in Gulu District, Murchison Falls in Nwoya District, Lututuru Hills in Lamwo, Fort Dufile in Moyo District, and rock art sites in Eastern Uganda among others that need to be tapped for tourism.
He notes that the development of museums presents a firm foundation for the dissemination of skills, knowledge, and information sharing that is inherited from generations and can be used to solve societal problems.
Museveni says the sustainable conservation of nature and cultural heritage can be a blessing to local communities through the Parish Development Model and can tap into business opportunities by selling local handicrafts.
He however implored the newly created cities to invest in leisure and sports facilities establishment that accommodates the infrastructural development of museums to enable tourists to explore the country.
Tom Butime, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities says the Ministry chose to celebrate the national event in Gulu City to lay the foundation for other cities to embrace developing Museums as products for cultural tourism attraction.
Butime notes that the tourism sector has been steadily growing and continues to be the leading foreign currency earner contributing 3.63 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and directly employing about 1.6 million of the population.
He also reiterated the need for private sector players to partner with the Tourism Ministry and invest in the development of untapped tourism potentials in the country, especially in Northern Uganda.
In 2019 alone, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism, inbound visitors spent about 4.58 trillion Shillings on tourism services while domestic tourism registered approximately 2.97 trillion Shillings.
Herbert Byaruhanga, the President of the Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) notes that the celebrations should help in reaffirming both the government and private sector player’s commitment to the sustainability and growth of the Museum in the country.
“I call upon more private players to join hands and establish additional museums across the country. By doing so, we can diversify our cultural offerings, create employment for people, and provide a sustainable platform for our communities,” He says.
Gulu Council City Mayor Alfred Okwonga notes that the City council has already earmarked 400 million Shillings for the establishment of a modern Museum and wildlife center but called on for government support to achieve the project. The City Council intends to establish the modern Museum at the former Deer Park Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism Wildlife & Antiquities, Doreen Katusiime pledged that the Ministry will render all the support needed to have the modern Museum established in Gulu City.
A series of key activities among them tree planting, tourism conference, and bonfire gathering preceded the International Museum Day celebration in Gulu City which was held for the first time outside Kampala.
In January this year, the Parliament passed the Museum and Monument Bill 2023 which aims at consolidating and reforming the legal framework concerning the conservation, management, and preservation of natural and cultural heritage and also collecting creative works of art.
Section 15/1 of the bill however provides for the establishment of city, regional, and district Museums under section 15/1 of the bill.
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