25 Sep 2023

Auric Air Joins Efforts with Uganda Tourism Board to Advocate Direct Flights to Boost Tourism


As part of this strategic initiative, UTB and Auric Air have been engaging in discussions to facilitate direct international flights to Uganda's premier tourism spots. This exciting development is poised to revolutionize the travel experience for international tourists and bolster Uganda's tourism sector.

The Uganda Tourism Board, entrusted with promoting the nation as a prime tourist destination, firmly believes that this progressive step will not only save tourists valuable time and money but also streamline their travel experience. Currently, all international arrivals are required to land at Entebbe International Airport for clearance before proceeding to their intended destinations.

Lilly Ajarova, the dynamic Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board, expressed her optimism about this collaborative effort, asserting that it would expedite tourists' journeys to their chosen destinations, providing them with unprecedented convenience.

Ajarova underscored the changing trends in international travel, where travelers seek to explore more in less time. She emphasized the critical role of air connectivity in achieving substantial growth in visitor numbers and tourism revenue for Uganda.

Furthermore, Ajarova pointed out a long-standing issue that has hindered Uganda's tourism potential—the lack of direct flights to key attractions such as Bwindi and Kisoro. She explained that despite Uganda's distinction as the home to the largest population of mountain gorillas and its competitive pricing, the country has struggled to maximize revenue due to the absence of direct flight options. Travelers have been compelled to navigate cumbersome routes through Entebbe International Airport before accessing local chartered flights to reach their destinations.

"The absence of direct flights to Bwindi or Kisoro has been a significant impediment to our Gorilla tracking revenue. Our rates are highly competitive, yet we have never achieved full occupancy in selling our Gorilla permits. It's imperative that we address these connectivity challenges," Ajarova emphasized.

According to data from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), Entebbe International Airport's aircraft movements witnessed fluctuations in recent years, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic having a substantial impact. As the aviation sector gradually rebounds, Ajarova stressed the need for the Immigration Department to broaden its horizons and extend visitor clearance services to other aerodromes across the country. This would enable tourists to directly access their chosen destinations and complete the necessary clearance procedures there.

Herbert Byaruhanga, Chairperson of the Uganda Tourism Association, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the collective call to the government to facilitate tourist landings and clearances at various points of entry across Uganda, not limited solely to Entebbe Airport. Byaruhanga emphasized the potential benefits of simplifying clearance processes, allowing visitors from neighboring countries such as Kenya and Tanzania to fly directly into Uganda's tourism hotspots, fostering an increase in tourist numbers.

The direct flights hold great promise for Uganda's tourism industry, opening up new opportunities for international travelers to explore the nation's diverse attractions with ease. As efforts continue to advance, these flights aim to create a more accessible and enticing environment for tourists, ultimately propelling Uganda to greater heights as a top-tier tourist destination in East Africa.