The government through the National Information Technology Authority (NITA) Uganda plans on spending UGX16.95 billion to bring internet connectivity to 57 tourists sites in 8 regions. The body’s ED; Mr. James Saaka revealed at the World’s Tourism Day thematic conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda.
Saaka in his remarks said, quote; “Internet connectivity is crucial for tourism development.” Therefore, the 57 sites will be part of NITA’s National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) project.
The plan is to connect up-to 96 sites including; parks and hotels. First phase will see 39 sites connected — though the estimated price wasn’t revealed. Connecting the remaining 57 sites to the NBI will require an estimated UGX16.95 billion.
The regions to benefit include; Semliki, Kibale, Rwenzori, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Kidepo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Mountain Elgon.
Effective and high-speed ICT infrastructure and software applications in the tourism and hospitality industry are crucial for tourism development, according to NITA-U. The firm said today, the government is encouraging and welcoming innovations in the tourism industry.
One of the government programs pushing for tourism innovations is the National ICT Initiatives Support Programme (NIISP).
NIISP primarily aims at facilitating growth and development of software applications and innovations focusing on Education, Health, Agriculture, and Tourism industries. This year, a total of 60 startups/innovations shared NIISP grant of UGX6 billion.
Saaka has called on the youth on embracing NIISP so as to access funds to build digital solutions for the tourism industry.
The government is as well trying to close the ICT related gap issues in tourism including; making travel & hospitality websites mobile-friendly. Other concerning issues include; training tourism players on ICT usage, calling-on enterprises to utilize social media for business development purposes, integrating enterprises with the updated ICTs, among others.