COVID-19 consequences for Uganda: Tourism income dropped by over 70% in 2020. The number of foreign tourists fell from over 1.5 million in 2019 to just under 475,000 tourists in 2020.

The tourism sector in Uganda has had a very difficult year 2020. Because of the global corona pandemic, the number of foreign tourists fell significantly in the last year. The foreign exchange income from the tourism sector was only 438 million US dollars, a decrease of 72.5 percent compared to the previous year. The lockdown and closure of Entebbe International Airport (the only international airport in the country) located around 40 kilometers west of the capital Kampala had far-reaching consequences for the entire tourism industry of the East African state. In addition, hotels and lodges were also closed and the country was in a lockdown of several weeks with numerous restrictions. The measures adopted by the government, including a nationwide lockdown, were able to counteract the uncontrolled spread of the virus, but foreign tourists, especially tourists from outside the African continent, stayed away for the most part in 2020. On the one hand, of course, because it was not even possible to travel to Uganda by plane. The various restrictions on public life such as closed bars and restaurants and the night curfew may also have contributed to this.

Almost 90 percent of all foreign tourists from African countries

With the exception of a very small proportion of tourists from Europe, America and Asia, around 90 percent of Uganda’s tourists came from Africa in 2020. By far the largest share of these came from neighboring Kenya.

First half of 2021 more arrivals than in the same period of the previous year

Compared to the first half of 2020, Uganda recorded significantly more foreign tourists between January and the end of June 2021, but the big unknown is now the nationwide lockdown, which will apply nationwide for at least 42 days. Uganda continues to woo foreign tourists who are more than welcome in Uganda and for whom numerous restrictions do not apply. Foreign tourists can currently move around the country more or less freely and also visit the national parks.

Sandstone cliffs on the Nile bank of Murchison Falls

Sandstone cliffs on the banks of the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park