The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government will not abdicate its responsibility to stop “elements working hard to tarnish” Uganda’s image, President Museveni has said.
Mr Museveni tweeted on Monday saying, “The true spirit of the people of Uganda and the beauty of our land continue to get deserving recognition across the world, irrespective of the few elements working hard to tarnish our country’s image.”
His statement came shortly after Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu presented to him the gold award that Uganda won last week at the Indaba Tourism Fair in Durban, South Africa.
It is the third time Uganda scores highly at the world’s third most important tourism exhibition.
“The NRM government will not abdicate its responsibility to stop these elements,” he tweeted.
Mr Museveni further noted that he had received a goodwill message from his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who has taken interest in resolving the unnecessary bureaucracy Ugandans are subjected to when seeking South African visas.
“Ugandans should get visas on entry in South Africa just as we do with them here. I congratulate and thank Team Uganda that showcased to the world the exceptional natural resource endowments for tourist attraction in the Pearl of Africa, and won us this recognition in Durban,” he added.
In the days to Africa’s Travel Indaba fete in South Africa, a number of tour operators were denied visas, sparking an uproar on social media platforms.
However, in his remarks at Africa’s Travel Indaba at the ICC Durban on Saturday, President Ramaphosa said his government was working towards reducing the enormous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists, who want to visit his country, face.
“If a tourist is held back by a lot of red tape, they immediately give up and go to another destination. This clearly requires that we should streamline our tourist visa regimes and as South Africa we are committed to working towards the African Union’s goal of a visa free travel dispensation and a single African air transport market,” Mr Ramaphosa said.
Uganda, represented by Uganda Tourism Board, won the gold certificate for an outstanding stand characterised with structural traits of eco-friendliness thanks to use of grass thatch, natural sticks and showcase of attractions such as gorillas, birds, wildlife and culture among others.
It was Uganda’s third gold win under the category of Southern African Development Community and Africa, having bagged the same award and recognition in 2015 and 2016, respectively.