Opportunities and challenges for developing urban tourism in Jinja city
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The study was conducted to assess the opportunities and challenges for developing urban tourism in Jinja City. The study had three specific goals: to profile the various tourism attractions and facilities in Jinja City that can support it as an urban tourism destination; to assess the strategies in place to develop Jinja City as an urban tourism destination; and to investigate the opportunities and challenges for developing Jinja City as an urban tourism destination. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 75 randomly selected tourists visiting Jinja city in addition to holding interviews with the Jinja tourism development officer, the product development officer UTb, officials from the ministry of tourism, the managers of the hotels and tour operators operating in Jinja city, and primary data was analyzed using a computer special package (SPSS version.16). The study identified various tourist attractions in Jinja City that included the Nile River (Kiira), Lake Victoria, Napoleon Gulf, Jinja Town Hall, Jinja Central Police, Busoga Square, Ambar Court Quarters, Noah’s Church, Indian Temples, Jinja Pier, Speke Monument, New Nile Bridge, Colonial Towns and Markets, Source of River Nile and Uganda Railway Museum, all of which can lead to the development of Jinja as an urban tourist destination. While in Jinja, the study found that tourists enjoy accommodation facilities such as the Source of the Nile Hotel, the Nile Suites, and the Dreamz recreational facilities found in Jinja City, which are supported by transport facilities. The study found that strategies in place to develop Jinja as a tourist destination are improved infrastructure, attraction of both foreign and local investors; inspection of tourism service providers, public and marketing of the tourism products; sensitization and involvement of the local community in the tourism development; and the establishment of the investment proposal for luxury boats and cable cars on the Nile. The transformation of Jinja into a tourist destination brings with it several opportunities, such as job creation; the attraction of foreign and domestic investors; diversification of new products; development of city infrastructure; protection and conservation of both natural and cultural resources; safety and security; and the training of local resources. Development of Jinja as a tourist destination is associated with challenges such as insufficient funding, poor health and lack of willingness of the local community, heavy infrastructural requirements, lack of clear documentation of the statistics, environmental degradation, poor sanitation and hygiene, unprofessionalism from the tourism operation, and seasonality of the tourism business. It is from the findings that the study recommends the marketing and promotion of urban tourism brands through competitive means by the government.