Address skills gap in the tourism sector, says expert

Address skills gap in the tourism sector, says expert

Although Uganda boasts of sh4.9 trillion as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from tourism, the sector still grapples with lack of skilled personnel to boost invisible trade.

Francis Mugoga, director at the Tourism Institute of East Africa, pointed out lack of knowledge in service delivery as a hindrance to the sector.

Mugoga noted that some institutes do not concentrate on field trip engagement consistently yet the sector dwells on navigating tourist sites.

"If we are to encourage this sector grow to earn us more foreign exchange we need to up our game in fielding more professionals through training them. There are more potential experts required say as cabin crews in aeroplanes, cultural directors coupled with site navigators, among others," said Mugoga.

US envoy, Tim Walberg (forth from left) and Francis Mugoga, director at Toursim Institute of East Africa poses for a grou[ photography with TIEA students after Walberg's key note speech at Namirembe Guest House

He said this in a statement to the press Wednesday morning while deliberating on the possible way forward in growing the tourism sector.

His remarks follow those of Tim Walberg, a US envoy who recently gave a key note address to tourism stakeholders while on his tour to Uganda.

The experts, views also come at a time the country is planning to celebrate world tourism day in Lira district under the theme "One Billion Tourists. One Billion Opportunities."

The celebrations slated for September 27, will be presided over by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

This will give an opportunity to the people of Lira and the country at large to showcase the various tourism attractions and activities in the region.
Mugoga re-echoed the need for all training institutions to re-align the tourism curriculum which should equip participants with more practical skills. He said there is need for students to be trained to understand tourist destinations and cultural practices.

His advice also comes at a time Uganda is redeveloping coupled with realigning her tourist potentials to woo more tourists in the country.

Mugoga urged stakeholders to unite in developing more opportunities through increasing infrastructure like hotels in potential areas.

He also encouraged all tourism students to know all potentials the country offers and be in position to explain to the visitors all aspects of tourism.

Vincent Mugaba, the public relations officer at Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) says there is need to appreciate tourism as a business. Mugaba noted that UTB is carrying out wider tourism opportunities to increase business opportunities.

"We want to move away from recognising tourism as lucrative due to tour companies and embrace many others like; leisure and recreation, business engagement among others


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