Due to the outbreak of the global pandemic of coronavirus, business has not been usual in Uganda. Lots of things are at stake right now especially the tourism industry which relies on the movement of people from other countries to Uganda. Uganda has gone ahead to suspend primate tourism from all its protected areas.
On the 25th march 2020, The Uganda Wildlife Authority came up with a press release document which it posted on its official websites and social media accounts suspending primate tourism in Uganda up to 30th April 2020. This is what the document read;
Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (covid19) and the eventual confirmation of a number of cases in Uganda, the management of the Uganda wildlife authority has assessed the current situation and have come up with measures that will serve to protect Uganda’s wildlife heritage, our staff and visitors who come to our protected areas and tourism business in our protected areas.
- Primate tourism and research in all protected areas has been suspended until April 30, 2020.
- Filming of primates has been suspended until April 30, 2020.
- Trackers will be provided with necessary PPE to avoid passing on any possible infection to the primates.
- Commercial motorcycles (boda bodas) and bicycles are prohibited in protected areas.
- An internal covid19 task force has been formed to work closely with the national task force and update and guide management on the day to day developments in the containment of the spread of covid19 and its implications to wildlife conservation and tourism in the protected areas.
- We have relaxed the rescheduling of gorilla and chimpanzee tracking. Tour operators are allowed to reschedule tracking permits of a maximum of two times up to March 31, 2022. This offer is valid even for those who booked with 30% down payment. This measure is intended to give tour operators and our visitors more flexibility to avoid cancellation of trips already booked.
- All our staff have been directed to be vigilant, wash their hands thoroughly with soap or alcohol based solutions keep social distance to avoid contracting the virus.
These measure have implications on our tourism activities and earnings but are a necessary undertaking in order to protect and conserve our wildlife resources.
Science has it that most of the primates in particular the mountain gorillas and the chimpanzees have a similar DNA of about 95% to that mankind that is to say with almost the same respiratory and immune systems. Most of the times these primates and mankind suffer from the same diseases for example the common cold and flu and also of recent the Ebola outbreak in the east central tropical rainforest regions of Africa greatly affected both human beings and the gorillas. Henceforth basing on the aforementioned establishments, the tourism fraternity in Uganda made a bold decision to suspend primate tourism in order to protect the primates from getting the coronavirus which could massively endanger the lives.
We have also witnessed many tour operators claiming that a mammoth of tourists have cancelled their trips to Uganda and they are counting losses because of the refunds being solicited by the tourists. Most of the hotels and lodges have also closed. The flights to Entebbe airport, the main gateway to and from Uganda were the first to be halted. This is really a big blow to the tourism industry of Uganda and the economy at large since tourism is the biggest forex earner of Uganda.
Though the ongoing worldwide spread of a deadly bug coronavirus has not only affected Uganda but also numerous countries. The world has gone into a dark moment where everything is at a standstill. The coronavirus scientifically known as a covid19 has drained the world right from taking thousands of lives, keeping people in panic and out of jobs and put the economies at a recession.
Nothing seems working lots of sectors have been shut down apart from the health sector trying to save lives. The coronavirus has left no stone unturned, it has affected the big countries like the United States, chine and United Kingdom to small countries like Uganda.
However, in the tourism sector the notion is “do not cancel your trip postpone it to a further date as the coronavirus shall come to pass very soon”. There seems to be beacon of hope as the number of new infections have gone down so as the mortality rate and the number of recoveries has increased.