With Uganda trying to tackle and prevent the wide spread of coronavirus amongst its poverty stroke and vulnerable population and economy, the most likely to be hard hit sector will be tourism.
This was also apprehended by the president of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni while he was addressing the nation yesterday night. The baby faced president said,” I heard several members of parliament spreading something I did not like that the economy will collapse. That’s wrong, farming will even rise since people will want more food but tourism and music industry will be greatly affected.” Nonetheless, little did he know that tourism is the biggest forex earner of Uganda with it doing so bad so does the entire economy.
Away from the president’s comments, tourism will really be hit so hard. In essence it is already crippled and debilitated, we have heard tourism stakeholders especially the tour operators and hoteliers crying foul of how they are hardly getting any bookings and also the confirmed reservations have cancelled due to the pandemic. The air transport that flies in and out tourists who visit the different tourist sites of Uganda have been put to halt.
More to that most of the tourist sites for instance national parks which are most visited by tourists have been closed by the government. This is with the motive of stopping the spread of coronavirus to the animals especially the primates like mountain gorillas and chimpanzees that have almost the same respiratory and immune systems like that of humans.
Science has that these animals have about 95% similarity with mankind. Most of the diseases like the common flue and cold affect them. The most recent transmit of disease from animal to human was the Ebola virus which greatly affected the vulnerable gorillas in the east central tropical rainforests of Africa.
The coronavirus has done so much harm in the world from claiming people’s lives, making people getting laid off from work to international and small companies collapsing and worst of it all limiting people’s movement from one place to another which is what tourism is all about. With transport or movement of people from place to another there is no tourism.
Even after the coronavirus (covid19) is no more in the world, it will take some ages for the tourism industry to get back to its feet. This is because most of the tourism auxiliary services like airlines, hotels, banks and car rental services will be in recess thereby not being able to deliver at their expected capability.
The people (travelers) will also be in the process of getting back to their normal financial state since the coronavirus situation could have left them financially broken. The tourism business will be so low and so many people could end unemployed and also some tourism based companies collapsing.
The aforementioned is the expected situation yet to come but we should not rule out the bright side of things. While I was talking to one of my friend Denis Mugerwa a senior tour consultant at Wild Frontiers about coronavirus and how it is going to affect the tourism industry. He told me that people (tourists) will always want to travel at any cost. He would have been right in some way or the other. Coronavirus is already causing a lot of depression to many people especially those from the first world countries who are not used to such kind of hardship. Travelling is one way of getting rid of the depression. Travelling makes one recharge and refresh his/her mind. Uganda could be used as an escape route from damages that would have been caused by the coronavirus bug.