Right of Reply: The General Manager of the Uganda Tourist Board responds to a travel article on his country

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The Independent Culture
WE HAVE a bone to pick with you, actually a whole plateful. In your travel writer Chris Walmsey's peevish report of his holiday in Uganda, he is wrong to refer to speak of President Museveni's wish to encourage "large-scale tourism". In fact the aim of the exercise is that Uganda does not want, and is not planning for, large-scale tourism. That is the whole bloody point!

Mr Walmsey says that the driver of the four-wheel-drive vehicle that took him on a game drive through the Murchison Falls National Park "narrowly missed the only living cheetah in a 50-mile radius". In fact, there are no cheetahs anywhere near the park, and there never have been any, ever.

Continuing with his litany of complaints, your correspondent claims that he found the Paraa Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park, into which he had been booked, was home to 80 baboons - did he count them? He will be happy to hear that the inn was fully renovated a year ago and is now recognised by all who visit it as the prime lodge property in Uganda.

One should point out that the current price of the "mud hut" that your man stayed in is the equivalent of pounds 10 per night - is that really the price of a B&B in England? Finally, and most importantly, nowhere does he describe what is in the park - the Nile River, for example.

The rest of the article shows such a lack of dignity and respect for our culture and our people as to leave us utterly without words.

We can only say how disappointed we are that a first-world broadsheet newspaper feels it has to do a hatchet job, not only on our country but also on a fragile indigenous tourist industry that is making genuine steps to create an authentic and sustainable tourist product.

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