New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Tourism Will Save Uganda

"Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, has visited Kigezi region twice in a space of 10 years - the last being two months ago, because he regards it as one of the best places on earth", Dr Andrew Seguya the executive director of Uganda Wild Life Authority said during the Banyakigezi Convention in Kisoro.

It is not only Bill Gates who thinks Uganda is a beautiful place worth visiting. Uganda was voted as number one tourist destination for 2012 by Lonely Planet (the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world).

Virunga volcanoes in South Western Uganda, was identified as one of the top 20 places to visit in the world by National Geographic Channel.

Bwindi is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park was voted Africa's number one birding site by the African Bird Club, Trip Advisor rated it the best tourism hotspot because it is serene and attractiveness and increased gorilla population.

The tree climbing lions of Ishasha in Kigezi wildlife reserve was voted number one picture in November 2010 by National Geographic. Seguya said Uganda Wildlife Authority has rebranded the national parks in Kigezi region.

Bwindi is The Ultimate Gorilla Experience and Mgahinga is Where Gold meets Silver.

Seguya said Uganda has received many international tourism accolades because of Kigezi region.

He encouraged the people of Kigezi to take advantage of tourism in order to improve their wellbeing. He said the Banyakigezi should not sit back and relax because of these good reviews but work harder to maintain and even target higher accolades.

Ruhakana Rugunda, the East African affairs minister said tourism is Uganda's and Kigezi's most potential saviour.

Rugunda said God favoured Kigezi with a great scenic view and environment which attracts tourists and the residents need to take advantage of it.

He said its true Bill Gates has come to Uganda twice and he not only comes with money but many business connections.

Rugunda said Spain attracts 60 million tourists and yet Uganda is sitting on a goldmine that is yet to attract more than one million tourists a year.

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