Kisoro, a district in southwestern Uganda, has recorded the highest number of tourists visiting to see the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. According to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the district recorded a total of 5,400 visitors in the first quarter of this year, a significant increase from the same period last year.
The district is home to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to over half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. The park is known for its unique biodiversity and attracts tourists from all over the world.
Speaking to us, UWA spokesperson, Mr. Bashir Hangi, attributed the increase in tourist numbers to several factors. “We have seen an increase in marketing efforts to promote the park, and the local communities have also played a significant role in promoting the park and its conservation efforts,” he said.
Mr. Hangi also highlighted the measures taken by UWA to ensure the safety of visitors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have put in place strict COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of both visitors and the gorillas. Visitors are required to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and undergo temperature checks,” he added.
Local business owners and tour operators in Kisoro have welcomed the increase in tourist numbers. “Tourism is a significant source of income for our community, and we are grateful for the increased number of visitors. We hope that this trend continues, and more people come to experience the beauty of our district,” said Mr. Jackson Mugisha, a tour operator based in Kisoro.
The increase in tourist numbers is a positive sign for Uganda’s tourism industry, which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government and tourism stakeholders are working towards reviving the industry and ensuring the sustainability of the country’s natural resources.