MPIGI. Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) together with Mpigi District authorities have combined together in order to modernize the Uganda Equator at Kayabwe Town along the Kampala – Masaka highway as a way of attracting more foreign tourists and the locals in the country.
This district strategy is aimed at promoting the sites near the Uganda Equator according to Mr Ronald Kazibwe, the district commercial officer and he continues to add on that “The Equator is the best tourism site in our district but its beauty has faded in the past years due to lack of enough care. It’s time to modernize it and if this goes on well, other sites near the Equator will also be receiving tourists hence transforming the economy and increasing our annual revenue and household incomes”.
The Equator gets at least 1,300 tourists every year “But if we beautify the site before June 2019, that means we are likely to double the number of tourists visiting us or getting more like 5,000 in the coming years. The number of traders will increase from the current 500 that carryout businesses at the site and we need to see that all products sold here are made from Uganda, not being imported from abroad” he added.
He was speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting at The Uganda Equator on where all local leaders, traders, land owners, government officials and guides participated in. The UTB deputy chief executive officer Mr John Ssempebwa, said modernizing the Equator is a marketing tool to Uganda’s tourism industry and urged all stakeholders to embrace the arrangement and all works.
“Let’s collaborate and act as publicists together for this noble cause. We are going to redesign the Equator to reach the standards of the new generation but we have to conserve its originality and preserve the historical documentation of this natural heritage” says Mr Kazibwe.
He also said that a number of events like Equinox parties shall be emphasized, more experiments at the Equator are to be improved, more billboards erected, all tour guides skilled, lights installed, flowers planted on roadside, a well-equipped tourism police set up to provide maximum security, improve the landscape of the area, sanitation, refreshments, accommodation and recreation among others.
According to Mr Ssempebwa, Shs 180 million has been earmarked to start the works at the Uganda Equator, Kayabwe. He also added that at least Shs 1 billion was set aside to cater for the redevelopment of other five places on different roads and on the waters of Lake Victoria, where the Equator passes.
During the meeting, Mr Jeff Ssekitto, Chairperson of the Equator Workers’ Association challenged UTB officials to start sensitizing the local communities about the tourism industry. “Our people are ignorant about tourism, the local guides lack skills of how best they can carry out tourism activities and lastly, people don’t know what or which attracts both local and foreign tourists. So, think about my words when you are in your offices” Mr Ssekitto said.