The Uganda Tourism board, which is entrusted with the duty to promote tourism, is proposing an increase of four US dollars on the airport tax to increase revenue to run tourism activities.
While presenting their budget submissions to the parliamentary committee on trade, tourism and industry, Cuthbert Baguma, the Executive Director, Uganda Tourism Board said that they are looking for ways of raising revenue since the funds that come from the government budget are inadequate.
He said that the board is proposing that civil aviation authority adds $4 on the airport tax to be paid by every individual who buys an air ticket, both residents and non residents.
Baguma said that based on the departures of 2011, the contribution of four dollars would translate into 1.8 m dollars per annum.
Baguma said that the 1.4 billion shillings that the board was allocated is not enough for the activities they need to undertake. The board is expected to participate in the London world travel and the International tourism exhibition in Berlin, which will require more than one billion.
He says that besides those functions the board plans to develop the national tourism information portal, design and publish a catalogue on Uganda’s tourism products and undertake a media marketing and awareness campaign among others.
However, MPs argued that the proposal might not work if it targets every individual who is going out of the country. Kenneth Rubogo, the Bulamogi county MP said that people leaving the country shouldn’t be the one paying that fee but the tourists entering the country.
He advised that UTB gets another way of implementing the policy not simply looking at collecting money because it will end up charging the wrong people. He was supported by Eddie Kwizera, the Bufumbira South MP who said the policy might not work if the board does not identify the persons to charge this fee.
He also advised that the board should propose the policy in liaison with URA because the fee can be collected and not given to the board. The board promised to revise the proposal to see how it can work effectively to collect enough revenue and alleviate the problems that have come with financial constraints.