Tourism contributes an estimated of USD1.6Bn to Uganda’s economy making it one of the country’s top earners with Agriculture in the first place and creating millions of jobs in the process from tour companies to operators in the lodges and rangers in the parks and with the corona-virus outbreak, Uganda suspends primate trekking and filming activities in national parks, as a result, to curb down the spread of the virus.
The COVID-19(corona-virus) with its origin not know, started from the city of Wuhan in China and spread globally becoming a pandemic. Claiming lots of lives and by today an estimate of 721,902 people believed to have been infected with the virus and with over 33,970 deaths. There has been no cure to date found for the virus.
Uganda is no stranger to the virus outbreak recording its first cases of victims to the virus outbreak a few weeks back and now with a total of 32 people reported to have tested positive to the COVID-19 virus. This has resulted in the country to go into lockdown first closing off the Airport to reduce the spread through incomings and then all boarders and once the virus manifested in the country the result was to close off the public transport as well. The burn put in place prohibits the travel of more than 3 people in a vehicle which makes it not viable to do business.
Uganda has also suspended all tourism activities in the country including all primate tracking activities and filming as well so all upcoming visits to Uganda in regards to tourism and film in the upcoming days should be postponed to a later date when the situation is better. This has a big impact on the country’s economy as we are losing out through many people cancelling their tours in fear.
In a letter that came out on 25th March 2020, a directive from the Uganda wildlife Authority put a hold on all tourism-related activities in the country. The director of UWA Sam Mwandha in a statement made “all tourism and filming activities of primates and other wildlife to be put on hold until the 30th of April. This directive came as a result that we don’t know where the virus originated from and what effect it could have if the primates contracted it and the best thing to do was to put a stop on the activity.
The statement mentioned;
- Primate tourism and research in all national parks and protected areas to be suspended until 30th April 2020.
- Filming of primates has to be suspended until 30th April 2020, so any upcoming shoots within this period to be pushed to a later date when the situation gets back in control.
- Trackers will be provided with necessary PPE to avoid the passing of any infection to the primates.
- Commercial transportation prohibited in National Parks
- An internal COVID 19 task force formed to work closely with the national task force to ensure that the above is enforced in line with the day to day changes in the guidelines on how to handle the issues relating to the COVID 19 outbreak.
- They also relaxed the rules pertaining to rescheduling of Gorilla and chimpanzee permits. Tour operators are allowed to reschedule gorilla and chimpanzee permits to a maximum of two times within the period up to 22nd march 2022. This offer is valid for even those who secured permits on 30% as well. This was done to create some flexibility for tour operators so that they can avoid any cancellations that may result.
Tourism contributes a whopping 7.7% to the country’s GDP and with tourism at its lowest globally means the economy is at a big loss with many people losing out on jobs, hotels cutting down on the staff number and tour companies have closed down during this time.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority losing out on gorilla permits that are to be sold on a daily with 88 permits available every day and at USD800.00 per day meaning all this revenue will be lost for all the time when the primate and tourism activities are on lockdown. For filming as well, there has been a stop on this as well.
What is the way forward?
At the moment we all have to wait on the situation until when it gets better, for those that had booked trips for Uganda the best is to postpone our trip rather than a cancellation, with Uganda Wildlife Authority allowing you to reschedule permits at least twice until 2022 just in case the virus outbreak cannot be contained within the upcoming months.
Booking trips for future dates, it’s true now it’s not safe to travel but be rest assured the situation will normalize and once it does there will be high demand for travel and we encourage you to start inquiring now when the discounts are still available. Check out for amazing discounts on packages.
Encounter Africa Safaris is your number one safari company and we are here to provide you with the best and most affordable safari options on any kind of tours please note that we book safaris for as far as 2022 and if you have any tour request put it through. We are a very reputable safari company and you can check us out on TripAdvisor and Safari Bookings for reviews on our service from previous clients.