The tourism private sector Associations under their umbrella Uganda Tourism Association (UTA) earlier this week held a meeting to discuss applicable issues that will determine the fate of the sector in the post-COVID-19 era.
The Association appealed to government to expedite the process of reopening the Entebbe International Airport by setting an interim date for the opening to enable them plan accordingly.
Last week, the board of directors of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority toured Entebbe Airport facilities ahead of the much awaited reopening. They inspected facilities to be used when operations resume. However, no date of reopening was given by the authority.
Ms Pearl Hoareau Kakooza, the UTA president, said as stakeholders they are ready to start operation and only waiting for assurance from government on exactly when they will bounce back.
“We have met as members [UTA] and resolved that we need an interim date for re-opening of Entebbe of International Airport so that we can plan and work out a plan for our visitors from different countries,” she said.
For Richard Mujjuzi, the Uganda Association of Travel Agents chairperson, he said even before the closure of the Airport, the sector was struggling since most parts of the world had already been hit by the pandemic. He said the continued closure of Entebbe is injurious to the sector.
“Even before the lockdown, we were already struggling to keep our businesses afloat. We borrowed money to pay airlines. These were tickets that we issued when we had not even been paid. The airlines are stuck and not giving us refunds. We have suffered and now suffocating,” Mujjuzi said.