Government advised to integrate culture in Uganda’s tourism development plan


The Government of Uganda tourism development plan emphasizes nature-based tourism while paying less attention to culture-based tourism. Whereas nature-based tourism has played a fundamental role in boosting the tourism industry in Uganda - making it a major foreign exchange earner (1.6 billion USD, NDP III 2020/2021 -2024/2025), the country’s diverse cultures and languages have great potential to enhance the sector.

A study conducted by researchers from the School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Makerere University shows that every region in Uganda has rich cultural heritage to offer to tourists. The study titled; Many Peoples, Many Cultures, Many Heritages: Going beyond Nature-based Tourism in Uganda” emphasizes the need to equally prioritize culture-based tourism. “Culture-based tourism not only offers variety but is also vital in boosting the sector,” the study indicates. The researchers however express concern over the limited documentation of cultural sites around the country, a factor that undermines the tourism potential of the sites. “Tourism is not only about reduced prices to sleep in posh hotels but the unique experience in a destination. Interrogating and documenting the history, culture and heritage of Ugandans would largely improve the sector,” the study indicates.

With support from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the researchers namely; Dr William Wagaba (Principal Investigator), Dr Enoch Sebuyungo, Dr Stevens Aguto Odongoh, Ms Margaret N. Mbalule, Ms Sarah Kawungezi, Mr Moses Oketcho and Ms Lorna Mwebaza in 2020 explored and documented the interesting history of several places and cultural sites in the country. The sites documented include the Uganda Martyrs Museum – Namugongo, Bwayise, Bulange in Mengo, Kabakanjagala Road (Royal Mile), Buganda Royal Palace (Twekobe) in Mengo, the origin of the name Entebbe, the Independence Tree and the Mapeera Tree in Kiggungu, Entebbe. Others include the Uganda Buddhist Temple in Bulega - Garuga off Entebbe Road, the Nile, the Bujagali Caves, Sezibwa Falls, Nyakohondokoro Cultural Tombs and Gault Tombs in Ibanda and Nakayima Tree in Mubende.

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