The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said areas like Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Semiliki National Park which were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will start receiving visitors .
“This is under strict laws to prevent the spread of the pandemic,” Executive Director Sam Mwandah said adding that “groups of more than 25 passengers will not be allowed in but given an option to split into smaller groups. Events like weddings in the park which are in vogue and Saloon vehicles are now prohibited.”
The agency in a statement also cautioned visitors to carry hand sanitizers and face masks.
“Rest assured in all the parks as we have trained and equipped our 1600 rangers on the ground to protect them and our clients from COVID-19 infection,” said Mwandah. “The cars and boats are also adhering to the law of carrying half capacity of the conventional load.”
Last month, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said the country expected to loose at least $1.6 billion in tourism due to the coronavirus.
“Already Ugandan will lose 1.6 billion dollars per annum from the loss of tourism,” Museveni said in a speech late on Monday referring to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
Tourism is one of Uganda’s economic mainstays as the east African country attracts visitors to see a range of game including lions, giraffes, buffalos and others that roam its savannahs.
The International Monetary Fund had earlier predicted that Uganda’s tourism earnings would fall by 54% in the 2019/20 (July-June) fiscal year, and decline 52% in the next year.
Stringent measures implemented to curb the virus’s spread including bans on both public and private transport, temporarily shutting nearly all businesses and closure of borders has wiped out much of economic activity.