A report from Uganda’s Ministry of Tourism for the 2022/23 fiscal year has revealed that East Africa continues to be a significant source of tourists for the country. The report highlights key trends in Uganda’s tourism sector since 2018.
According to the Tourism Development Programme Annual Performance Report, out of the 814,508 tourists who visited Uganda in 2022, nearly half came from Kenya, making it the largest source market. Specifically, 46.2 percent of the total arrivals during that period, which amounts to at least 376,302 tourists, were from Kenya.
East Africa, as a whole, contributed a substantial 76.3 percent of Uganda’s tourist arrivals. Rwanda followed Kenya as the second most important source, accounting for 19.5 percent of total arrivals. South Sudan, Tanzania, and Eritrea rounded out the top five source countries, contributing 7.3 percent, 3.3 percent, and 3.2 percent, respectively.
However, the report did not provide specific earnings from the East African region for the period under review. In comparison, the number of visitors in 2022, while an improvement over the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, was still lower than the pre-pandemic figure of 1.54 million recorded in 2019.
Apart from East Africa, other significant source markets included India (3.2 percent), Burundi (2.5 percent), the United States (1.6 percent), the Democratic Republic of Congo (1.4 percent), and the United Kingdom (1 percent). Other countries, such as China (0.7 percent), Ethiopia and South Africa (each with 0.5 percent), and Nigeria (0.4 percent), also contributed to Uganda’s tourism.
The report highlighted that the majority of visitors, constituting 38 percent, came to Uganda to reconnect with friends and relatives, while 16 percent visited for business purposes, and 10 percent came for leisure or holiday.
During the first Annual Tourism Review conference, Internal Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire emphasized the need to promote Uganda as a safe tourist destination, acknowledging challenges related to traffic and law enforcement. He also called for improved standards in the hotel sector to enhance the overall tourism experience.
In terms of expenditure, the report revealed that accommodation, food and beverages, passenger transport, and retail trade accounted for 68.8 percent of total expenditure by inbound tourists.