Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni, is planning to upgrade four airstrips in some of the country’s most iconic national parks to enable them to handle international visitors.

The announcement was made on 28 April at the Pearl of Africa Tourism Expo held in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

Four airstrips in the Kasese, Kidepo, Pakuba and Kisoro national parks will be tarmacked and coded, with immigration posts established – enabling visitors to avoid immigration and customs at Entebbe Airport.

Hailing the news as “game changing”, Tom Butiime, Uganda’s Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, said wealthy tourists coming from destinations including Dubai and Frankfurt would be able to fly directly to their chosen destination via private jet.

Visitor numbers to Uganda have recovered well so far in 2023 with numbers expected to be back at pre-pandemic (2019) levels in 2024. There are currently around 1.5 million visitors a year, contributing 7.7% to the country’s GDP.

Referencing the success of this year’s expo, Lilly Ajarova, CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, said: “This year’s expo not only points to our recovery but also highlights our readiness to host the tourism community once again.”

She added that Uganda is targeting responsible and sustainable tourism and will “promote the use of recyclable materials and reduction of waste but also promote the conservation of the environment while respecting the host communities”.

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