Minister of State for International Affairs Mr. Okello Oryem has assured tourists of safety and warned against canceling bookings to Uganda, saying that the Ebola outbreak in the two districts of Mubende and Kasanda is being managed well given the experiences from previous epidemics.
Oryem also accused the western world of exaggerating epidemics breaking 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. We look forward to welcoming our foreign tourists as well as local tourists,” Oryem said.
He made the remarks at the Foreign Ministry’s headquarters in Kampala, while presenting the program for November’s Uganda-Kenya Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Familiarization Tour between tour operators from the two countries.
A partial 21-day lockdown has since been imposed in Mubende and Kassanda, the epicenter districts, as the Ebola death toll now stands at 25.
Mr Oryem urged foreign countries to conduct thorough investigations before issuing travel advice to their citizens to prevent them from traveling to some countries over health concerns.
“Even if there is only malaria, they will tell their citizens not to travel to a certain country. If you are in Western Europe now, you will get the impression that we are all just dying of Ebola on the side of the road. I don’t think any of us saw a person die on the street from Ebola,” he said.
The tourism exhibition, which will be run under the theme “Strengthening Networks, Synergies and Diversity to Maximize Tourism Potential between Uganda and Coastal Kenya”, aims to strengthen synergies between key tourism players from Uganda and Coastal Kenya.
The presentation was attended by the Ugandan Consul General in Kenya, Ambassador Paul Mukumbya, among other dignitaries.