By Mark Keith | Daily Monitor, Uganda January 13, 2016
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has blamed negative publicity of the country for the decline in the number of tourists visiting the country. This was revealed in the 2014/15 Auditor General’s report released last week.
The report reveals that UWA collected revenue of Shs42.6b, a decline of 24 per cent from Shs56b in 2013/14. As a result, UWA posted a deficit of Shs13b compared to the surplus of Shs4b reported in 2013/14.
“Management explained that in the financial year 2014-2015 there was a drop in the number of tourists visiting the protected areas from approximately 220,005 to 196,768 visitors (11% decrease) especially due to factors beyond management’s control and negative publicity,” the report reads.
Negative publicity is mostly reference to the various terror alerts issued during the year due to Uganda’s participation in the peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The threats are picked up by both local and international media. The terror threats are also sometimes followed with travel advisories issued by various governments warning their citizens about travelling to Uganda.
Often, UWA and Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) officials have complained that this negative publicity turns away tourists. The revenue shortfall leaves UWA in funding gap that could threaten its autonomous state.
“I explained to management that such a decline in revenues affects the entity’s ability to remain self-sustaining and meet its budgetary, current and outstanding obligations when they are due,” the report reads.