By Our Reporter
Hundreds of domestic tourists who embarked on a Five – days tourism excursion to Western Uganda in a campaign dubbed Explore West concluded the trail on Sunday evening.
The team that began the journey enroute to Western Uganda last Wednesday with an official flag off by State Minister for Tourism, Hon. Martin B. Mugarra at the Uganda Museum had stop overs at Equator and in Lukaya for demonstration of the Cariolis effect and engagement with the community respectively.
Aboard different vehicles, the team was also joined withh social influencers such as Patrick Salvador, Madrat and Chiko, Moses Golola, Sheila Gashumba, Dance Mamweta, Miss Tourism Queens among others.
Day 1 saw tourists visiting Lake Mburo National Park and Kimihingo Agro Tourism Farm next to the Park in Nyabushozi County, Kiruhura District before heading for a Cultural Evening at Igongo Centre and later a night in Mbarara City.
Day 2 kicked off with a visit to Ankole’s Mugaba Palace where the Hon. Minister Martin Mugara saw off the trail to a tea testing experience at Ankole Tea estate, Kyambura gorge, Katunguru Bridge and later Queen Elizabeth National Park.
At Queen Elizabeth, tourists traveled to Mweya Peninsular through the Katunguru gate before a boat cruise at the Kazinga channel and an evening game drives through the Park.
Day 2 was crowned with comedy meeting Tourism in a comedy Night special affair where comedians Salvado, Madrat and chiko thrilled reveler tourists who had camped at the park for the night.
Day 3 kicked off with a visit to Katwe Salt Lake and flamingo viewing at Lake Munyanyange before heading to Kasese Town.
In Kasese, Explore West team visited the River bed and round Boulders at Kilembe mines and Nyamwamba Valley before a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) engagement with Bulembia Primary school where various scholastic materials were gifted to pupils.
Day 3 was crowned with a drive to FortPortal city for the night, in anticipation for Day 4 where the trail met with the Tooro Kingdom officials for a tour at Omukama’s Palace in the early morning.
Here, the Minister met with the Kingdom Prime Minister Rt. Hon Stephen Kiyingi Amooti, Resident City commissioner Ms. Catherine Amokti and FortPortal City legislator Alex Ruhunda who jointly applauded the Explore West Campaign that shed more light on tourism destinations in their area.
The team would later continue to Semuliki National Park in Bundibugyo district for an experience at the Sempaya Hotsprings. The trail later moved to Nyakasura for a tour of “Amabeere ga Nyinamwiru” before a hiking challenge at Kirenzi Hill.
Explore West tourism campaign came to an end on Sunday and according to Minister Mugarra, it’s not the end.
“We are not ending with this Explore West. We shall be doing Explore Northern Uganda before June,” he said.
Explore West followed a successful Explore Elgon Campaign as part of the Bigger Explore Uganda Campaign aimed at increasing Domestic Tourism.
The Campaign aims at boosting and spotlighting new attractions in the country, according to Mr. Vivian Lyazi, Commissioner of Tourism, at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildfire and Antiquities.
Minister Mugarra asserts that even with limitations, the sector can be sustained if Ugandans embrace Domestic tourism.
“Covid 19 taught us that the only way we can have a resilient tourism sector going forward is to focus on the Domestic market and we are seeing the achievements. We have seen last year where our parks registered the biggest Visits and the Domestic tourists surpassed the foreign visitors,” he said.
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