Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has offered the best sportsmen and women from the ninth edition of the 2011 Uganda Inter-Forces Games and Championships a fully paid two-day trip to Murchison Falls national park.
A total of 30 sportsmen from Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF), Uganda Police Force (UPF), Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) and the UWA who participated in the competition were on Thursday flagged off by UWA's executive director, Dr Andrew Seguya.
"The intention is to reward our sportsmen but also expose them to our heritage," said Dr Seguya.
"To preserve our heritage, we need to reach out to our local people because most people think it is expensive to visit parks."
This thinking has led to low domestic tourist numbers, contributing to only 5% of UWA's revenue. According to Seguya, UWA this year plans to grow this market segment to contribute at least 40% of its revenue - by introducing affordable accommodation in the parks and buses to transport Ugandans to the parks.
"The field tour is important because it will strengthen our image amongst the forces. It will go a long way to promote the desired support from sister forces, which is needed to develop the sports culture at UWA," Seguya said.
"UWA's offer is on record in the history of inter-forces since no force or any other body had ever rewarded best performing sportsmen. The action will generally motivate sportsmen and women to work hard," he added.
While in Murchison Falls, the largest conservation area in Uganda, the sportsmen and the officers will go for game drives, launch drive to the bottom of the falls and also visit the top of the falls to witness the world's most powerful waterfalls.
"It is usually foreigners who go to the parks and narrate our story. We are grateful to be the pioneers of the initiative to have more Ugandans visit the parks," said Rt Col Godfrey Muwanguzi who led the officers on the trip.
The inter-forces games and championship is an annual event where participating forces compete in range fire shooting, darts, athletics and ball games.