Ecotourism is a phenomenon that has become prevalent across the world and Uganda is no exception.
It is being endorsed as a way of addressing climate change, conservation of biodiversity, provision of employment, boosting the local tourism industry, among other advantages.
As defined by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism is the responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustain the well-being of the residents, and entails interpretation and education features of nature.
It involves activities such as bird watching, village/community walks, nature guided walks, forest walks, gorilla tracking, butterfly watching, mountain/hill climbing, nature photography, as well as other aspects related to natural, rural, and cultural tourism.
“The Uganda Tourism Board is currently running the ‘Uniquely Ours’ campaign to promote domestic tourism and it is well-timed that we enhance the efforts to add something onto the product catalogue of our country,” Bugingo Don Patrick, Managing Director at Aloesha Organic Natural Health Products said.
Bugingo made the remarks as Aloesha, a provider of health services through the use of conserving centuries-old herbal medicines unveiled a 49 Acre Ecotourism Centre located in Bombo – Kalule in Luwero district.
The initiative is part of the organization’s 10 Year Celebration since it’s establishment in 2002.
The move aims at boosting local tourism among other initiatives purposed at the Social –Economic development of the community where the site is located and the country as a whole.
The new eco-tourism center seats on about 49 acres of land. The hub comprises of a nursery establishment, ornamental compound, a medicinal tree forest and a training institute which focuses on intensive preparation and equipment of present day youths, practitioners, and people with disabilities with practical skills in the field of herbal medicine and related disciplines.
Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) acknowledges such initiatives aimed at enhancing economic activities pledged continued support as well as creating an enabling operating environment for them as stressed by John Kaddu, an evaluator at PSFU.
“We commend Aloesha Organic for not only establishing an Ecotourism Centre, but going a notch higher to provide a training Institute where learners are able to attain employable skills that will boost the output of the quality of the service and products delivered on the market.”
Sophie Balijuka, the Product Development Officer at Uganda Tourism Board mentioned that the recent opening of the economy and the different initiatives conducted to promote local tourism makes the launch of the the Eco-Tourism Centre timely as this will not only increase the number of tourism sites that Ugandans and travelers from across the region and the globe can visit, but it will greatly contribute to income generating avenues for the country.
For the Ecotourism Centre to thrive, it is key that the requisite skill sets and knowledge on conserving and maintaining the plants, and environment as a whole are passed on, and with the proficient training conducted at the training Institute.
“I believe the investment is worthwhile and it will create a lot of opportunity for the learners as they will gain skills that see them have a competitive advantage on the job market.”
At the same event were 20 institution students who underwent a 3 year course on specialized herbal medicine preparation and the entire value chain management graduated was graced by Fagil Mady, an education and training consultant at the training Institute.
“I use the same opportunity to congratulate them upon this great accomplishment in their education journey,” observed Bugingo.
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