Tourism increasingly plays a central role in a country’s economy and also currently helping in Covid-19 recovery responses. Uganda in particular, tourism sector contributed 7.75% of GDP and 6.7% of total national employment in 2018 (CBI, 2020). In addition to direct job creation and GDP contributions, the sector offers add-on benefits of related infrastructure investments and indirect income generation across supply chains (Budget Framework FY 19-20). The tourism sector supports employment in the wildlife sector, transportation, retail, culture, sports and recreation industries (UTD Master Plan).

The sector is dominated by SMEs and family-owned businesses who offer popular tourism services, including safaris, birdwatching, tours of cultural sites, handicrafts and many more. As the sector recovers from the pandemic, there is evidence of a growing trend, largely due to international demand, for sustainability accreditation and ecolabelling of tour operators. As Africa moves forward in advancing a resilient, inclusive and green economy, sustainable tourism SMEs will play a central role. The tourism sector offers opportunities to generate income and jobs while protecting Africa’s vast wildlife and biodiversity and strengthening cultural heritage.

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