Uganda: Kampala Twin Blasts Are a One-Off, Uganda Remains Safe - Tourism Sector Players Say

17 November 2021
Nile Post News (Kampala)

Tourism sector players have assured tourists to Uganda that the country is resilient and will deal with the people behind the Tuesday bomb attacks in Kampala.

The two explosions that happened three minutes apart at the Central Police Station in Kampala and near Jubilee building along Parliamentary Avenue saw six people including three suicide bombers killed whereas 33 others sustained injuries.

The attacks have since sent shockwaves to many, including visitors and tourists to Uganda.

However, speaking to Nile Post on Wednesday, Uganda Wildlife Authority communications manager, Bashir Hangi assured tourists that the explosions were a one-off and that Uganda remains largely safe.

"The bombing incident that befell our country is unfortunate but it is a one-off because we are not known to be a country of bombs. We are a country known to be welcoming all races. We are known to be a safe country and we are safe,"Hangi said.

He noted that despite the "isolated attacks" the country's protected areas are safe for everyone.

"All our tourist attractions and protected areas are safe. People should not worry. Our security forces are doing their best to ensure people are safe. People should come, visit Uganda and enjoy the warm hospitality."

Issa Kato, the Managing Director for Pristine Tours Limited, a tour company could not agree more.

"Uganda is generally a safe country. The government of Uganda is also doing everything to pursue these isolated cases and so far has made arrests of the members of the terror cells," Issa said.

Davis Rukundo, the chairperson of the Uganda Bird Guides club also assured tourists of the country's safety, save for the isolated incident.

He insisted that the forthcoming tourism activities like the African Birding Expo are still on course.

"We have the African Birding Expo set for December 10 to 12 but before that we have a farm trip where we have invited international travel writers, tour guides, travel agents and company owners to go around the country for two weeks before the expo. This is a message of assurance that the country is safe,"Rukundo said.

He revealed that participants in the events have posted that they are ready to come.

"We also have forthcoming trips and clients have not cancelled any. I urge many other tourists to come and enjoy what nature has to show ."

Richard Kawere, the CEO for Uganda Tourism Association said Uganda's tourism will always remain resilient.

"The general parts of the country are safe. The security is in the right hands and security systems are up to ensure no other attacks are registered. We assure travelers the country is generally safe and their safety is our priority. The areas they visit are safe,"Kawere said.

David Bakeine a lodge operator in Lake Bunyonyi area said, "While it's sad, unfortunate and regrettable, Uganda remains one of the safest countries on earth. The fact that the bad elements are targeting the city is in itself an indication that our boarders and rural areas which host much of our tourism resources are very safe and an indication that these barbaric acts can't be sustained."

"To everyone planning to visit Uganda or a Ugandan seeking to immerse in the wild and enjoy nature, there's absolutely no justification for developing cold feet. The Pearl of Africa awaits."

Wendy from Adere Safari Lodge Kidepo," Yesterday was a sad day to us as a country but these are isolated incidents. Our guests are still confident to visit and there have not been any cancelations."

Following the explosions, President Museveni assured the country that the people behind the attacks will be soon be brought to book.

"They have exposed themselves when we are more ready for urban terrorism. They will perish. We are working with the neighbours to deal with those operating from outside," Museveni said.

The Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said just like in the past that Uganda has shown resilience in dealing with any attacks, those behind the recent explosions will also be brought to book.

Solidarity

Following the incidents, Uganda has received several messages of brotherhood conveyed by our friends, embassies, diplomats and global citizens from all around the world.

Both António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; and President Charles Michel, of the European Council (EU) tweeted on Tuesday to express full solidarity with the people of Uganda.

Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the African Union Commission stands in total solidarity with the people and Government of Uganda and wishes a full recovery to those injured.

The IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, also added his voice in extending heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Uganda.

Several global leaders and missions including the U.S. Mission in Uganda, Embassy of Belgium in Uganda; Embassy of France in Uganda, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda, Russian Embassy in Uganda; the Ambassador of Italy to Uganda, Embassy of Sweden in Kampala; and among others, have also come out to share messages of solidarity.

The British High Commission in Uganda through their UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated their travel advice to include details of yesterday's isolated incident but has not changed their level of advice on travel to Uganda.

Tourism

Uganda, like many holiday destinations around the world has remained open to tourists after the relaxation of worldwide Coronavirus lockdowns that dominated much of 2020 and a section of 2021.

The country which is recovering from the global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic remains a leading destination for tourists seeking leisure and business travel experiences.

Its tourism sector has previously shown extraordinary resilience in times of uncertainty. This fast recovery is largely premised on the country's unique attractions, its hospitable people as well as the importance of the international community in supporting sector rejuvenation.

Whereas the explosions happened in Kampala, most of the country's tourist attractions are found in the countryside, many kilometres away from the capital.

Tourism is Uganda's leading foreign exchange earner and one of the industries with the largest contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The country's leisure and business travel attracts tourists annually whose visitor revenue is key for financing conservation efforts including the sustenance of critical species like the rare mountain gorillas, chimpanzees lions, elephants and giraffes; bettering the lives of host communities; as well as improving and maintaining tourism infrastructure in this famed "Pearl of Africa."

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