Tourism in Uganda is focused on Uganda’s landscape and wildlife. It is a major driver of employment, investment and foreign exchange, contributing 4.9 trillion Ugandan shillings (US$1.88 billion or €1.4 billion as of August 2013) to Uganda’s GDP in the financial year 2012–2013.
Tourism can be used to fight poverty in Uganda. There are the tourism companies which employ people directly as drivers, guides, secretaries, accountants etc. These companies sell products to tourists, for example art and crafts, traditional attire. Tourism can also be operated online by the online based companies. Tourist attractions in Uganda include national game parks, game reserves, traditional sites, and natural tropical forests. Traditional occasions like Mbalu in eastern Uganda, boat riding, waterfalls etc.
In the late 1960s, Uganda was visited by 100,000 international tourists each year. Tourism was the country’s fourth largest earner of foreign exchange. The tourist industry ended in the early 1970s because of political instability. By the late 1980s, Uganda’s political climate had stabilised and conditions were suitable for reinvestment in Uganda’s tourist industry.
However, the loss of charismatic wildlife in previously popular safari parks such as Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park prevented these parks from competing with similar tourist attractions in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda’s tourist industry instead promoted its tropical forests. The keystone of the new industry became Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With more than 300 mountain gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.
In October 2014 the Ugandan government’s Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities released the 2014–2024 Tourism Development Master Plan with support from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the United Nations Development Programme. Among other strategies, the Plan divides the country up into several geographical “Tourism Development Areas.”