USAID donates to tourismThe United States Agency for International development (USAID) has earmarked $20m (about sh50m) to im­prove tourism in Uganda.

The programme will be unveiled in the next few months. The support was revealed by the deputy chief of mis­sion at the USA embassy in Uganda, Virginia M. Blaser.

She said the programme would benefit tourism cultural centres like Igongo Cultural Centre in Mbarara district.
Blaser made the disclosure on Monday after inaugurating a three-dimensional map the embassy funded at Igongo Cultural Centre.

The map, that cost $10,000, will guide tourists who are interested in knowing the history of the area. The team leader of environ­ment and natural resources in USAID Kampala, Suudi Bamulesewa, said the pro­gramme would develop tour­ism related to bio-diversity conservation.

He said they would focus on Lake Mburo National Park and Karinzu Forest Reserve. Bamulesewa said they would also develop Kidepo and Murchison Falls national parks.

He added that they were in the process of identifying partners who would imple­ment the project on behalf of USAID and the US.

Bamulesewa disclosed that they had set aside funds to support entrepreneurs interested in investing in the tourism sector through projects like building hotels to accommodate tourists.

The proprietor of Igongo Cultural Centre, James Tumusiime, said the facility promotes research, people who make handcrafts, musi­cians and singers.

He said it also promotes herbal medicine, forestry and other issues relevant to African history and culture.
Igongo was established three years ago at the site where people used to play music for the King of Ankole.