Serena Hotels plans to acquire four additional sites for hotel development in Uganda.
The tourism ministry said three sites had already been identified – in Bwindi National park-home to half the world’s known population of mountain gorillas, Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth national park.
Serena’s new investments yet to be valued, will help meet the demand for high quality hotel facilities. Uganda’s existing tourist facilities and services are not sufficient to cater for the growing sector.
Meanwhile investors in the sector want the exclusivity agreements that the government signed in the 1990s scrapped, saying they are hampering the development of the industry.
The government entered into an agreement with the Madhvani Group when insecurity caused by the Lords Resistance Army and Congolese rebels slowed tourism industry investments.
The agreements, whose termination the World Bank called for in 2003, apply to Madhvani’s Mweya and Paraa Safari Lodges. The concession for Mweya was signed in 1995 and runs until 2025. Both are valid for 30 years and allow a 25-km radius exclusivity zones in which no competing hotel development are allowed.
Many tourists visiting those areas are not finding sufficient accommodation, thus the call to end monopoly. The government's strategic plan for the industry also involves training of hospitality personell.