Opportunities, challenges and interventions for youth participation in tourism in Uganda
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Uganda has no clear structure for the inclusion of usually marginalized groups such as youth in tourism, implying that there are no clear channels for the dissemination of tourism knowledge, information about available opportunities and apprenticeship for such groups. Given the role of the young generation as cultural actors, innovators and pivotal team members, their exclusion poses a long-term threat to the management aspects of our tourism industry, its labour force, and preservation of both natural and cultural resources. This research project focused on gathering information necessary in organizing the youth, to occupy different places along the tourism value chain and reap the benefits therein by identifying tourism-related opportunities available to the youth, hindrances to youth access of these opportunities and their desired interventions. Data was collected using mixed qualitative and quantitative methods over a period of three weeks. Primary data was collected using questionnaires, targeting three mutually exclusive groups of respondents, whereas secondary data was collected using semi-structured key informant interviews. It was found that the major tourism-related opportunities available to the youth are employment opportunities with enterprise owners and managers generally expressing a positive attitude and willingness to work with the youth. Furthermore, majority of the youth have a positive attitude towards tourism and 92.6% believe that the tourism industry can be used to meet some of their needs such as employment. 80.6% of the youth staying in Fort Portal had considered venturing into tourism as employees, enterprise owners or value chain suppliers. Hindrances to youth access of tourism-related opportunities were found to be financial limitation and lack of knowledge on tourism. In light of the findings, the researcher recommends development of a national policy on inclusive tourism and, design and adoption of a tourism cluster development program to deliver interventions.