Uganda Tour Guides Give Back Despite COVID-19 Setbacks

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Tour Guides Forum Uganda (TGFU), as part of their community outreach last week, participated in a charity drive for vulnerable communities.

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  1. TFGU is a registered association of tour guides and tourist drivers in Uganda.
  2. Even while its members are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic since the country was first locked down in March 2020, charity was the priority.
  3. The organization donated wheelchairs, clothes, reusable sanitary pads, and soap to vulnerable groups in the Ngora village of Soroti located in Eastern Uganda.

The second lockdown that took place in early June saw the tourism sector exempted from the lockdown with licensed tour operators allowed to operate unhindered after clearance by the Transport Licensing Board of the Ministry of Works and Transport, limited to foreign tourists. Although this was a reprieve for tour operators and guides alike, several companies were swamped with cancellations and sought to reschedule or resell gorilla permits altogether, dashing hopes of restarting the sector.

Some lodges (names withheld) were uncompromising on their cancellation policies, urging tour operators to rely on travel insurance to make their claims for refunds, much to the frustration of tour operators.

“In spite of the setbacks,” said Chairman of Tourism Guides Forum Uganda, James Mwere, “We have guides who had invested in other areas before the pandemic came up and were able to contribute some small funds for these community projects. Yes, most tour guides have not been working for about 2 years now, but this pandemic gives us something to learn, to always be innovative with our income.

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