Uganda a 'better destination' than Spain, president says
Uganda's president has accused his country's tourism representatives of failing to market the country properly, arguing the east African nation should be sold as a "better destination" than Spain.
In an opinion piece published in the New Vision newspaper Wednesday, veteran leader Yoweri Museveni fumed that Uganda's Tourism Promotion Board should be renamed the "Tourism Suppression Board".
"The biggest problem with tourism is poor promotion," Museveni said. "In Europe, people go to the Mediterranean coast. I visited Spain, it is very hot and humid in summer. I think Uganda would be a better destination than some of those destinations."
Uganda, he argued, was a "good place on the globe where you go and have a nice life".
"We are right on the Equator but because of the high altitude, we have snow-capped mountains, but even where there is no snow, the climate is very mild -- very good for the human beings," he said, criticising tourism officials for merely promoting Uganda as having "only some chimpanzees and so on".
Uganda's tourism sector accounts for nearly eight percent of GDP, and employs more than half a million people -- but Uganda's image has suffered over the past year.
The country drew international condemnation after passing anti-homosexuality legislation that could have seen gays jailed for life. The legislation was stuck down by the constitutional court in August, but politicians are in the process of drawing up another harsh law.
The Ebola outbreak on the other side of the continent has also turned off international visitors from heading to Africa, and Museveni underlined how Uganda has contained three outbreaks of the deadly hemorrhagic fever and two outbreaks of Ebola-like Marburg.
"The best way of stopping it, apart from having a health system, is political," he said. "If there is an outbreak and I am informed at midnight, by morning, I will be on the radio myself, not delegating, not the minister of health, not WHO, no, myself."
© 2014 AFP