By Francis Emorut
Hotel operators have been urged to charge Ugandans in local currency (Uganda shillings) rather than US dollars in order to boost domestic tourism.
The call was made by the chief executive officer of Breathtaking Uganda, Isaiah Rwanyekiro, who said hotel operators charge clients in dollars and this puts off Ugandans.
He explained that prospective domestic tourists understand Uganda shillings compared the US dollars.
“The challenge we have is that hotel operators give quotations for the services in US dollars and this puts Ugandans off because they find it easy to understand quotations in Uganda shillings,” Rwanyekiro said.
He added that once the package is given in Uganda shillings it is easy buy it.
He made the remarks during a press briefing to flag off 30 Ugandans heading to Murchison falls as domestic tourists at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
He said that his company charges sh570,000 for domestic tourists to visit any national game park in the country.
He explained that the amount caters for accommodation, meals and transport and visitors enjoy all the services offered in a given national game park such as boat cruises and viewing wild animals.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Doreen Katusiime, hailed Breathtaking Uganda for promoting domestic tourism especially after the corona virus hit the country last year in March.
She said before the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda earned $1.6b from tourism industry contributing to 20% of the Gross Domestic Product.
Katusiime appealed to Ugandans to embrace domestic tourism rather waiting for foreign tourists.
“We cannot always depend on tourists from abroad when we as Ugandans have not seen the treasure we have,” Katusiime said.
Marcella Karekye, the communications director at Government Citizen Interaction Centre urged Ugandans to ustilise the tourism attractions in the country rather than flocking to Mombasa in Kenya.
The 30 domestic tourists will visit Kidepo national game park, Murchison Falls, Masindi and Hoima the oil and gas rich destination locations.