URBAN TOURISM IN UGANDA: LET’S BUILD NEW MONUMENTS IN KAMPALA CITY

By Mutabazi Sam Stewart

 

Urban tourism https://ceopedia.org/index.php/Urban_tourism worldwide attracts more tourists compared to the traditional tourism the third world is accustomed to of trekking the bushes to see wild life and game in national parks and game reserves. This is because urban tourism is less wearisome. A tourist does not need to plan to get to the remotest parts of the country for them to see amazing stuff a country has to offer. These should instead be brought into easy reach. Besides, tourists are categorized differently.  Some visit a country for different reasons altogether and turn to become tourists before or after their official business.

A person who would have jetted into the country may not have the luxury of resources and time to go to Bwindi impenetrable national park www.ugandawildlife.org/other-parks/bwindi-impenetrable-national-park  or Queen Elizabeth National Park www.queenelizabethnationalpark.com/. More so tourism is not only about animals and game. This leads us to a very pertinent question: What does Uganda’s capital offer to the tourists as a city? What would a typical first-time visitor to Kampala be encouraged to see in the city that is unique and spectacular? How can we market our city or cities as a potential tourism destination? Sculptures, monuments old buildings, and unique arts are what normally pulls tourists to a city. If these are lacking, then the city loses out on tourists. China has the Great wall https://www.chinahighlights.com/greatwall/, France has the Eiffel tower https://www.rd.com/culture/eiffel-tower-facts/, USA has the Statue of Liberty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Liberty and Britain has the Piccadilly. These are hall marks that make a city popular.

The Eiffel tower is for instance one of the most visited monuments in history receiving thousands of visitors every day. Kampala has the independence monument on Speke road below Sheraton gardens but this is an insignificant monument that can hardly make any impact in the eyes of tourists. There is need for KCCA www.kcca.go.ug  to design a monumental gigantic piece of architecture that will be closely associated with the city. It need not be too expensive. But it should be big enough, strategically placed and well designed to attract attention. This would, as time goes on be associated with the city and hence every visitor who would wish to visit the city should have it on their itinerary to visit such a monument as a prof that they one visited Kampala. URSSI www.ugandaroadsector.org  will support KCCA to defend the budget that would be dedicated to such an edifice.

In addition, government and urban authorities should encourage the private sector to start getting interested in investing in urban tourism. Investors ought to know that it’s not all about building hotel and restaurants. Some tourists may not have a lot of resources to spend in big hotels but could have little resources they can use to visit interesting areas where they are able to spend small amounts.

City governments should also work with artists who are able to innovatively come up with ideas that may be interesting for tourists to look at. Every city is unique and it’s up to Uganda to market her cities unique. We must create those unique structures that will sell Uganda internationally. These are what should define the country such that tourists who visit the country will market the country through word of month hence ensuring even more keep coming. It’s not enough for government to keep touting the old song that Uganda is naturally beautiful. Natural beauty is good but can never be enough to attract a good number of tourists.

Natural beauty has to be enhanced by human actions. Without human beings working to improve nature, such beauty is not sellable. There is no where in the world where tourists can go without the human touch. Natural vegetation, mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes are good ti look at only when human beings make an intervention to make them attractive by creating things like resorts, hotels, roads, railways etc. No tourist wants to visit a bush where there is no life. Profitable tourism is in infrastructure that is man-made and not in natural things made by God. Every country has its own natural landscapes. Whether rocky or beautiful greenery, tourists will appreciate it best when the human beings take time to beatify the natural to get the better version. Israel is naturally a desert country, very rock and almost lifeless. However, Israelis took note of this and have over the years worked hard to make their country one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Uganda must stop marketing her natural beauty but rather improve on what she already have through great infrastructure in order to attract even more tourists.

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