Tourism in Uganda: A Sector on the Rise – Highlights from the FY 2024/25 Budget

In a remarkable turn of events for Uganda’s tourism industry, international tourist arrivals soared by an impressive 56% in 2023, surging to 1.274 million visitors compared to 814,085 the previous year. This surge brings Uganda tantalizingly close to its pre-pandemic peak of 1.52 million arrivals recorded in 2019, marking a significant recovery and reaffirming the country’s allure on the global tourism stage.

Accompanying this surge in arrivals, international tourism receipts also saw a substantial rise, reaching USD 1.03 billion for the year. This financial windfall underscores the high return on investment that the tourism sector continues to deliver for Uganda’s economy.

Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, lauded Uganda’s resurgence in global tourism rankings, highlighting the country’s return to the top ten best tourism destinations. This recognition not only boosts Uganda’s international profile but also enhances its attractiveness to global travelers seeking diverse and enriching experiences.

In line with this burgeoning success, Uganda has allocated Shs 289.6 billion from its national budget of 72 trillion shillings for the 2024/25 financial year specifically for tourism development. This significant investment is earmarked for targeted marketing and promotional campaigns aimed at boosting both international and domestic tourism. Moreover, substantial upgrades are planned to modernize Uganda’s tourism infrastructure, ensuring it remains competitive on the global stage.

Key projects in the pipeline include the completion of a state-of-the-art pier and infrastructure at the Source of the Nile, enhancements to the Uganda Museum, and the construction of 8,000 meters of climbing ladders to enrich visitor experiences and expand recreational activities.

Enhance the conservation of Uganda’s 22 Wildlife Protected Areas with a focus on the mitigation of human wildlife conflicts. Government is going to construct an additional 150 kms of electric fence and maintain the existing 106-km fence; carry out boundary surveillance through more than 13,904 patrols; uproot invasive species and construct four (4) water dams in protected areas.

Beyond the direct allocation, an additional Shs 1.629 trillion has been allocated to bolster various critical tourism-related initiatives. These include strengthening the Uganda Wildlife Authority, improving tourism roads, and enhancing overall road infrastructure under the auspices of the Kampala Capital City Authority. The investments also encompass preparations for AFCON 2027 and the completion of essential stadiums, aimed at enhancing security and law enforcement at tourist sites, as well as expanding internet access to these locations.

Together, these bold investments are poised to elevate Uganda’s tourism infrastructure and visitor experience to new heights, promising sustained growth and economic benefits for years to come. As Uganda continues to build on its natural wonders and cultural treasures, the future of its tourism sector looks brighter than ever.

Canaan Travels is welcoming this opportunity of Uganda’s growth and increased global interest and economic activity. The tourism development programs, such as better infrastructure and marketing campaigns will enhance the facilities and attractions that Canaan Travels can provide its clients with notable projects that will enrich the tour offerings. Also, the government’s investment in conservation, electric fences, and road improvements, and the preparations for AFCON 2027, improve visitor satisfaction and safety. These initiatives will boost Canaan Travels’ service quality and market reach, ensuring growth and a stronger competitive edge in the growing tourism landscape.