Opinion: On June 16, 2023, Inclusive Green Economy Network –East Africa (IGEN-EA) had a meeting with Kikuube District Local Government (KDLG) officials to discuss tourism potential of Bugoma Forest.
During the discussion the spotlight was on research findings from a research brief on tourism potential of Bugoma forest that was produced in May last year by IGEN-EA, which depicts that Bugoma forest is home to 570 or 11.4% of Uganda’s estimated population of 5,000 chimpanzees, 225 bird species,257 tree species, bush elephantsand the endemic Ugandan mangabeys.
Despite these attractions, no tourism activities in the forest are ongoing.
Yet under the National Development Plan (NDP) III the Ugandan government identifies tourism as one of the priority economic sectors that must be developed for Uganda to reduce poverty levels, increase jobs and accelerate economic growth.
Bugoma forest continues to be depleted which calls for combined efforts towards restoration of the forest.
All hope is not lost because the tourism potential within Bugoma forest is promising and can’t be left untapped for the betterment of host communities and the tourism sector.
In conclusion, I call upon responsible stakeholders for instance The Ministry of Tourism alongside Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) as well as the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) that in consultation with all other tourism stakeholders develop a tourism development strategy for Bugoma forest, maintain effective community outreach services around the forest and government should promote public-private-partnerships to attract more sustainable investment options in accommodation and others to promote tourism.
The author is BabraKembabazi, a concerned citizen
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