The news this week reported that our tourism sector, despite bringing in about 10% of our GDP, usually has almost no funding in the national budget (less than 1%). In the report, a number of individuals in the sector were interviewed; they had a few choice words to say about the government’s priorities. Let’s put ourselves in government’s shoes though (and this does not in any way mean we are eyeing the top seat; that usually has repercussions). So, let’s say you, as an individual, are government and you are dispensing money. Here are a few decisions you’ll have to make.
Great pictures of lions and other wildlife vs gear for police
This is a hard one. While looking at that excel spreadsheet you’ll be using to allocate the nation’s funds, you’ll wonder whether it’s a good idea to doll out a few millions to have some photos of lions taken for an ad campaign. Lions asleep, dreaming of a land where they don’t chase food, the food walks to them and asks to be eaten. Lions basking in the sun. Lions having dinner.
On the other hand, you’ll have the police that needs gear for the upcoming elections (and for crime-fighting activity).
Tourism Advert Vs Office of the president
Should you make a flashy 60-second ad showing smiley faces of Ugandans, beautiful shots of nature and then ending in a shot of our beloved leader giving a thumbs-up sign, signalling to all those watching that Uganda is the place to be if tourism is your thing? You’d need to run that ad on CNN and BBC.
Or should you send more money to the office of our beloved leader? This is an easy one.
Upgrade national parks infrastructure Vs Give out sack of money
Do you invest in tourism infrastructure – accommodation facilities, transport to the areas, etc.? Or do you instead give out sacks of money? You do know that we, the people need those sacks.
While the powers that be dilly dally, one way we can draw people here is to train even one lion to live life as a vegetarian. We’d feed it healthy alternatives like soya and nkeje. Wouldn’t people travel all the way to take pictures with it? Lady Gaga would adopt it and it’d curtain-raise at her concerts, letting out a mighty roar that’d excite and scare revellers in equal measure. We’d call it Simba from Uganda.