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New Tourism Cabinet Minister

Uganda tourism gets own ministry back

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jun 02, 2011

UGANDA (eTN) - President Museveni has indeed re-constituted a separate Ministry of Tourism, leaving trade and industry behind as a stand-alone ministry again to the great relief of the entire industry. The new cabinet minister is the Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, who already served as state minister in the former ministry of tourism, trade, and industry and has the required insight and, without doubt, the intellect to provide guidance and leadership to the sector. Tourism has of late been suffering of bad publicity as a result of opposition-incited incidents on the streets of Kampala and also from the fallout of bad decisions made by the former minister who gained some serious notoriety when he referred to himself as the "minister for crocodiles."

During the World Bank "inspired," if not dictated public sector reform in the late 90s, the ministry of tourism, wildlife, and antiquities was force-merged with trade and industry, not a compatible marriage, unlike for instance a joining with natural resources or environment. This promptly caused outrage and serious concerns by the sector for not being consulted at all, which in the coming years was proven exactly right as the tourism portfolio constantly pulled the short straws when it came to budget allocations, leaving the tourist board seriously cash starved and the sector almost in neglect.

The forthcoming budget reading will give the tourism industry a better idea of what resources government will allocate to the ministry and the tourist board, as the initial action now witnessed must, of course, be followed up by sufficient cash to go out and promote Uganda to the world, as its neighbors Rwanda and Kenya have amply demonstrated and very successfully done so in recent years. In the meantime, the new government is granted the traditional 100 days grace period to settle in and get into gear, but expectations will be high that fundamental change is now on the way to propel Uganda’s tourism industry truly into the 21st century.

Uganda tourism gets own ministry back
New Tourism Cabinet Minister Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu / Image via

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