4 October 2013

Uganda: Eclipse - Uganda Expects Over 700 Tourists

Photo: Ashutosh Ojha
A solar eclipse.

Over 700 international visitors are expected to come to Uganda to witnesses the historic total solar eclipse.

According to a paper which has been presented to cabinet by the tourism minister Maria Mutagamba, the international visitors are expected to generate 568,400 dollars.

About 3000 domestic tourists are expected and their total expenditure is projected at sh600, 000, 000m.

"The tourism sector has registered bookings from tourists coming to Uganda for this event and there is growing interest and pressure for accommodation services in areas where the solar sighting will happen," Mutamba stated.

Cabinet resolved to use the event to market Uganda globally and various ministries have been tasked to collaborate in rendering the necessary services.

The ministers agreed that on the need to prepare the communities within the solar eclipses sighting prepare and economically benefit from the influx of visitors.

According to Mutagamba's paper, Uganda has been identified as the best location in the world to view the eclipse.

Although people in places like Soroti, Masindi, Arua and Gulu will be able to watch the eclipse, the best view will be possible in Pakwach around Owiny Primary School.

The private sector has written to the President also explaining to him about the need for the promotion of the event.

The minister argued in her paper that communities in Northern Uganda stand to benefit from the global event by selling souvenirs, food and accommodation services whereas the tour and transport operators will benefit by providing services to the tourists.

The tourism minister, who heads the inter-ministerial committee for the event, has requested for sh943, 321,743 for the various preparatory arrangements. The total budget for upgrading Owiny Primary School is sh234, 321,743.

Come November 3, Uganda will be the world's focus center as it experiences a total eclipse. Uganda lies on the path of a Hhybrid Solar Eclipse.

The eclipse is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun and casts a shadow on the surface of the Earth. The sky takes on an eerie twilight as the Sun's bright face is replaced by the black disk of the Moon. Surrounding the Moon is a beautiful gossamer halo.

Government anticipates a stream of international and local tourists to flood Pakwach to watch the eclipse unfolding.

International tour companies have already started mobilizing tourists to come to Uganda to witness the event.

One of these companies, Premier Safaris, said, "It is considered to be one of the most awe inspiring spectacles in all of nature which is worth traveling to go see. Uganda is well prepared for this and has a great location close to Murchison's National park, which provides an excellent basecamp at Paraa or Chobe lodge."

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