A report from the Ministry of Tourism has unveiled disparities in hotel occupancy rates across various regions of Uganda. Contrary to common belief, the lowest hotel occupancy rates were found in the central and western regions of the country. The report is part of the Tourism Development Programme Annual Performance Report for the 2022/23 financial year.
In 2022, both the central and western regions registered a hotel occupancy rate of 33.8 percent, the lowest in the nation. Kampala, classified as an independent region, had the highest occupancy rate at 61.4 percent, followed by the eastern region at 50.2 percent, and the northern region at 48.5 percent.
Overall, the report noted an average occupancy rate of 46.9 percent in 2022, marking an improvement from the 33 percent recorded in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted hotel occupancy, causing a sharp decline from a peak of 51.9 percent to 20.1 percent in 2021.
While the report highlights regional disparities, it does not provide an explanation for the variance in occupancy rates. Additionally, a recent World Bank report revealed that a significant concentration of high-quality hotels is in Kampala, with the capital city housing 60 percent of Uganda’s five-star hotels, 64 percent of four-star hotels, and 42 percent of three-star hotels.
Hotel occupancy rates in Uganda had been steadily increasing in the years leading up to 2019, reaching a peak of 51.9 percent. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated global travel restrictions led to a sharp decline in tourism arrivals, causing hotel occupancy rates to drop to 20.1 percent in 2021.
Regional Hotel Occupancy Rates (2022):
- Kampala: 61.4 percent
- Eastern: 50.2 percent
- Northern: 48.5 percent
- Central: 33.8 percent
- Western: 33.8 percent