Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) stated in a public statement issued on June 5, 2020 that all tourism activities in the protected Savannah parks shall resume with immediate effect.
Uganda’s tourism activities in the savannah parks are to be undertaken in a manner that assures that all guidelines by ministry of healthy and His Excellency the President of Uganda are adhered to.
These measures include but not limited to:
- Mandatory temperature screening using non-contact infrared thermometers at the key tourism gates of different national parks
- Mandatory hand washing /sanitizing at the entrance of all UWA premises and national parks
- Carrying of half capacity in order to observe social distance shall apply to all vehicles and boats in the parks, these include concessionaire delivery vehicles.
- Saloon cars shall not be permitted to carry out game drive activities in the parks.
- Large groups exceeding 25 people shall not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activities.
- Events such as destination weddings shall not be permitted in the interim
- Visitors to the national parks are encouraged to curry their own hand sanitizer and face masks.
Uganda Wildlife’s Statement further pointed out that its head office in Kampala is now open to the public for any of their service requirement after its closer for a period of 2 months.
Is Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport and its borders open?
Despite the opening Savannah National parks, Uganda borders and Entebbe international Airport remain closed as the government avoids importing of COVID -19 cases.
Uganda borders are only open to cargo trucks and Entebbe International airport is only open to Cargo planes only. However Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has tightened measures to contain the spread of Corona virus ahead of reopening the airport to passengers.
Mr. Avub Sooma the Authority’s director Air ports and Aviations Security told journalists on June 4 2020 that they are trying to ensure that the airport is ready for future operation of flights and facilitating repatriation of Ugandans that are currently stranded abroad.
According to Mr. Avub Measures Below will be Followed.
- Departing passengers will now be expected to arrive at the airport at least four hours before boarding to go through the Health Port screening procedures.
- They will also be required to present a valid health certificate from the Ministry of Health or undergo a rapid test at the airport before departure. He also added that all arriving and
- Departing passengers will be expected to wear face mask and exercise social distancing when airlines resume business.
Mr. Sooma Further pointed out that some of the other changes at the airport will include:
- providing more space for boarding lounges,
- Installation of automatic sensor non touchable doors and non touchable taps,
- e-boarding pass readers
- automated document readers to limit excessive scanning of passports
He also added that three big tents have already been erected to ensure that passengers observe physical distancing.
Mr. Sooma also said the they are working with officials from ministry of health, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to ensure that Entebbe complies with the set guidelines as they prepare to receive 2400 Ugandans stranded abroad before all other passenger planes follow.
However Dr Benson Tumwesigye who led a delegation from Ministry of Health to inspect the airport and assess the progress of the COVID -19 measures being taken said that the airport can only resume passenger flights when the health ministry is satisfied that the precautionary measures are adhered to.
Opening the Savannah parks amidst airport and border closure means that Uganda is now focusing on domestic tourism however domestic tourism is still low with limited participation of Ugandans in tourism
Tourism is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners, Ugandan president Museveni said on his national address that the country is likely to lose $1.6million in tourism this year because of COVID-19