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USAID Advances Dialogue to Raise Uganda’s Profile as Tourism Destination
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with Business Today Publications sponsored a forum on May 31, 2011 to raise Uganda’s profile as a sustainable tourism destination.
The forum titled “Prioritizing Tourism in National Budget Process,” aimed to generate dialogue on the tourism sector and present recommendations on investment opportunities and partnerships ahead of the release of the national budget on June 10, 2011.
Since the 1980s, USAID has supported natural resources management in the Albertine Rift, and is currently working with communities to develop market-driven products and services that can increase tourist stays and revenues.
In her remarks, Ms. Theresa Tuano, USAID Team Leader for Economic Growth, emphasized the importance of strong linkages between tourism development and biodiversity conservation.
She highlighted the role that community tourism plays in reducing threats to biodiversity and encouraged journalists to expand coverage on related issues.
Last year, USAID, through its STAR project, supported the inaugural Sustainable Tourism Media Awards Program for excellent reporting on tourism, and together with 42 private companies and organization, awarded prizes to journalists and media organizations.
Moving forward, USAID plans to align its efforts with the Government of Uganda’s new Tourism Strategy and invest approximately $15 million in strengthening the capacity of government institutions, the private sector and local communities to raise the country’s profile as a sustainable tourism destination. The Agency will continue to offer technical assistance in developing and marketing sustainable tourism products that are customized to target markets. In addition, alternative livelihood programs will be offered to communities to stop them from depleting natural resources, including illegal activities in protected areas.
The event supported three U.S. Mission Uganda’s MSRP goals: Economic Growth and Development; Investing in People; and Mutual Understanding.