Parliament has passed the Uganda Tourism Bill 2007 into law. The new law that was passed on Tuesday will govern tourism activities in the country.
An excited state minister for tourism Serapio Rukundo said it would accelerate the development of the sector. The law, he noted, was good because it was friendly to the private sector that drives tourism.
The law sets standards, provides for licensing, regulating and controlling the tourism sector. It will give effect to the implementation of the Tourism Policy 2003 and reconstitute the Uganda Tourist Board to make it private sector-driven. A tourism development levy will be charged to establish a Tourism Development Fund.
The chairman of the committee on tourism, Pereza Ahabwe, said the law on tourism was spread out in several laws in an uncoordinated manner but the new law would change that. It also repeals the Hotels Act, the Tourist Agents Licensing Act and the Uganda Tourist Board Act.
The committee noted that the process of registration and licensing would be undertaken at a scale of fees to be determined in consultation with all the stakeholders involved in the industry.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s biggest foreign exchange earners, contributing $320m per annum or 25% of the export earnings annually. The sector also employs 70,000 people, constituting 17% of the employment workforce.