The State Minister for International Affairs, Mr. Okello Oryem has assured tourists of safety and advised against cancellation of bookings to Uganda saying the Ebola outbreak in the two districts of Mubende and Kasanda is being managed well given the experience from past epidemics.
Oryem further blamed the western world for overhyping epidemics that break out in Africa.
“We are safe Ugandans, we are safe tourists. The border is not closed, the airport is not closed and we are open for business. We look forward to welcoming our foreign tourists as well as regional tourists.’’ Oryem said.
He made the remarks at the foreign affairs ministry headquarters in Kampala while launching the program for the Uganda-Kenya tourism conference, exhibition and familiarisation trip between tour operators from the two countries scheduled for November.
A partial 21-day lockdown has since been declared in Mubende and Kassanda, the epicenter districts as the Ebola death toll now stands at 25.
Mr. Oryem challenged foreign countries to carry out thorough investigations before issuing travel advisories to their citizens, stopping them from going to some countries over health concerns.
“Even when there is only Malaria they will tell their citizens not to go to a particular country. The impression now if you are in Western Europe, you will think that we are all just dying on the roadside of Ebola. I don’t think anyone of us has seen a person dying of Ebola in the streets,” He said.
The tourism exhibition that will run under the theme, “Strengthening networks, synergies, and diversity to maximise the tourism potential between Uganda and the Kenya Coastal Region” is aimed at enhancing synergies between key tourism players from Uganda and the Kenya coastal region.
The launch was attended by Uganda’s Consul General to Kenya, Ambassador Paul Mukumbya among other dignitaries.