In 2014, the Government with funding from the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank Group commenced implementation of CEDP aimed at supporting reforms geared towards improving Uganda’s competitiveness including tourism. The five-year project was coordinated by Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) with various beneficiary Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) taking part in the implementation of the US$100M project.
The project was implemented under four components which included Land Administration Reform, Business Registration and Licensing Reforms, Tourism Competitiveness Development and the Matching Grant Facility.
The goal of the Tourism Competitiveness Development component was to provide support to the tourism sector through strengthening public and private sector stakeholders and their collaboration to develop a competitive tourism offering. The Government was supported to hire Market Destination Representatives (MDRs) in the key source markets of North America, United Kingdom, and German speaking Europe. UTB was supported to build capacity for both board and management, and to acquire FAM trip vehicles. UWA was supported to acquire boats, and buses. As a result, the project contributed to:
(i) Increasing tourism arrivals from 945,000 in 2010 to 1,505,000 in 2019; and increasing tourism sector employment from 225,300 in 2010 to 667,500 in 2019
(ii) Tourism revenue increased to US$1.4 billion in 2017 and tourist arrivals in national parks were 267,000 people, partly attributed to the marketing effort supported under the project in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany
(iii) Under the Matching Grant Facility, 248 SMEs were supported (with about 32 percent of the enterprises in the tourism sector), covering 288,000 beneficiaries (51 percent were women).
(iv) The project supported construction of 50 of the 80 hotel rooms, at UHTTI, and
(v) The number of staff trained at the Ministry of Tourism was 183 -surpassing the original target of 130.
The Tourism component under Additional Financing seeks to support and strengthen Uganda’s core tourism offerings and modernise and professionalise tourism-related institutions to enable them to better facilitate and coordinate private investment into the sector. This is being achieved through:
(a) Upstream planning and policy and regulatory improvements
(b) Targeted public infrastructure improvements together with feasibility studies and business plans to enhance the sustainability of public investments through alternative business models including Public Private Partnerships (PPP) or incentive-based management contracts
(c) Systematic market surveys and intelligence gathering to develop product development and packaging ideas
(d) Strengthened branding and more targeted marketing; and (e Local hiring and training of local youth for participation in tourism-related opportunities.