The strategic location of Kabale University in the South-West of Uganda bordering Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, both being major tourist destinations for mountain gorilla tourism, was ideal for setting up a Tourism department at the University.
This region is endowed with a rich, unique endemic biodiversity- spectacular highlands, volcanic mountains, tropical rainforests, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and rare fauna and flora, just to mention but a few.
As tourism grows in Uganda in general, and in this region in particular, there is great need to train competent and professional human resource, not only for Uganda but also for the East African region. There is, indeed, growing demand for specialized professional education as demonstrated by foreign applicants to study in Ugandan universities, mostly from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, DemocraticRepublic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Somalia, et al.
The Tourism Department started in 2002 with a 3-year Bachelor in Tourism Management (BTM) degree which is accredited by the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF HIGHER EDUCATION, the sole accreditation authority for tertiary education in Uganda.
The Department is currently anchored on two major areas of focus, i.e. Tourism Management and Hotel and Hospitality Management programmes which are all accredited by the National Council of Higher Educatio(NCHE).
PROGRAMMES CURRENTLY OFFERED
- Certificate in tour guiding& driving
- Diploma in tourism management
- Diploma in hotel management
- Bachelor of tourism management
For hands-on experience the tourism students must carry out industrial attachment/internship for a minimum of two months at the end of which they are required to submit a REPORT before they can graduate.
In this regard the Department collaborates with these organizations:
- Uganda Wildlife Authority (National Parks and Information Centres)
- Rwanda Development Board (for placement in National Parks)
- Selected Tour and Travel Agencies both in Uganda and Rwanda.
- Selected Hotels (of at least 2-STAR standard)
The Tourism students must also carry out research and submit a research report as a requirement for graduation, mainly in the following areas:
- Eco-tourism, community- park relations, wildlife management, ICT use in tourism, tourism marketing, hospitality customer care, hotel growth and development in East Africa, etc.
- Kabale University is currently chairing the Research and Capacity Building Committee of the Kigezi Tourism Cluster Platform. The department is responsible for conducting tourism research especially visitor surveys, gap analysis and drawing tourism capacity building and training programs.
- Together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the tourism department initiated a joint collaboration program with NEMA, Kigezi District Local Governments and FAO on Climate Change Adaptation through Integrated ecosystem restoration and tourism development in the Kigezi Region. This program is still in its infant stages and so far preliminary biophysical and socio-economic assessments have been conducted. We are writing joint papers which we are likely to submit for publication in two weeks time.