A local tourism investor has petitioned President Yoweri Museveni regarding what he described as ‘delays’ by power company Umeme to install power to help boost tourism.
Moses Turyatemba the Proprietor and executive director of Trackers Safari Lodge located in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National park in Kanungu revealed to The Investigator how high fuel costs to run their generators is affecting their businesses. Turyatemba who owns the USD$3m Trackers Safari Lodge one of the high end 5 star hotels located in Bwindi revealed that Bwindi has a very high potential of revenue generation.
“As local investors who generate jobs and income for locals, we need government quick intervention in addressing infrastructural challenges,” he said in an interview in Kampala. Turyatemba who retired as supervisor large taxes at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) after 25 years says most investors lose out due to high operation costs.
“There is no power in Bwindi. We complained to the president and after that poles were fixed and a transformer placed but it has never been switched on. We are suffering,” he said. He said that his high powered generators at the lodge utilize 10 liters each hour and they must keep running through out since tourists can’t be in the dark. “The costs are too high. Guests need to surf during the day and need light at night; these are great challenges that need attention. I remind the president to prevail upon Umeme so that power is switched on,” he said.
The Rotarian and golfer said though Trackers Safari lodge has only 9 rooms at the moment, he has plans of constructing more cottages as well as a presidential suite to help meet the growing demand of accommodation needed by tourists.
“There is money in tourism especially in lodging but tourists can only come if we have good roads, and nice infrastructures,” he said. He also urged government to work on the Buhoma Kihihi roads, which he described as ‘pathetic’. “Our guests take about two hours to fly from Entebbe to Kihihi but take over an hour to reach at Trackers Safari lodge a distance of about 60kms,”he said. He described the workers attitude towards employment as other challenges facing the tourism sector. “The issue of more gorillas also needs attention. UWA needs to habituate more mountain gorillas so that we can have more tourists tracking. This will increase numbers and room bookings too,” he said.
The year old magnificent lodge is considered one of the ‘High end’ hotels in Bwindi. Built with hard wood, Trackers Safari is a luxury property located on the hill top overlooking the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the southern sector of Buhoma
Reacting to the concerns of the infrastructures challenges in Bwindi, the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi who addressed the media at Trackers Safari lodge during one is his Tulambule Wild Tourism stop over’s said: “Government is doing that it can to improve on the roads. We know how tourism is a good revenue earner and as such tourists need to be in comfort.” Kiwanda who visited Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Nkuringo UWA outposts and Mgahinga Mountain Gorilla National parks said all plans are underway to upgrade Kisoro airfield into a mega airport so as to boost tourism. “The road network from Kampala to Kisoro was too bad, now the road has been finished and the next on agenda is the airport, he said.