Ebola outbreak sees holidaymakers cancel Uganda jaunts

by Tiffany Millar on August 2, 2012

Hundreds of holidaymakers have decided to cancel their trips to Uganda after a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus.

Thus far, at least 16 Ugandan citizens have been killed with 20 more believed to be infected. Cases have mostly occurred in the Kibale district, located in the west of the African country, which is home to Kibale National Park - a popular tourist haunt.

Although the Foreign Office and the World Health Organisation haven’t issued travel restrictions to Uganda due to the outbreak, Uganda’s Tourism Association has gone on record saying that its members have reported massive cancellations. As August is the peak season for foreign visitors to Uganda, the outbreak’s timing could prove damaging.

A Mr Wekesa, who works in the Ugandan tourism industry, commented that Ebola is dampening opportunities in Uganda as well as his country’s history – which he listed as consisting of Idi Amin, disease and poverty. Mr Wekesa called on the government to invest money in damage control, as thousands of jobs are on the line.

John Hunwick, a UK businessman and tour operator, pointed out how the outbreak might be damaging to Ugandan tourism’s long-term future. He then commented that tourists are leaving Uganda because they are scared and future bookings with tour operators might become a thing of the past.

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