Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has commissioned a multi-billion shilling accommodation and events facility in Mbale Municipality to supplement tourism revenue from neighbouring Mt. Elgon Conservation Area (MECA).
The facility named CALDERA Guest house after the famous Mount Elgon Caldera known to b the largest in the world, was commissioned on Thursday July 17 by the chairman of the UWA Board of Trustees, Mr. Benjamin Otto flanked by leaders from the districts neighbouring the conservation area.
The Guest house boasts of ten spacious self contained rooms, a modern restaurant, a bar, conference hall, a room for business centre and open gardens for events. It is located in the centre of Mbale town close to the Mt. Elgon National Park offices.
The property was donated to UWA by IUCN in July 2003.It was formerly used as staff accommodation before UWA undertook to renovate it to transform it into a commercial premise. It has been advertised for private management and got a lot of interested bidders who are still being assessed before the successful one is awarded a contract.
Speaking at the commissioning of the facility, the chairman UWA BoT Mr. Otto applauded the management of UWA on their initiative to put up the facility which will supplement revenue from the traditional tourism attractions on top of providing employment opportunities and services to the local communities.
Mr. Charles Tumwesigye the Deputy Director Conservation at UWA who represented the Executive Director, appealed to the business community and development partners to support the guest house as direct clients, agents and promoters. He said UWA has plans to diversify tourism products in MECA to attract more visitors who will in turn boost business in the neighbouring towns.
The function was graced by the Bugisu cultural leaders, Omukhuka, the Mbale District Resident Commissioner Ms Pamela Watua, Dr. Adonia Bintoora the Manager MECA and several local leaders and representatives of the business community. Ms SAMKA contractors were the firm that carried out the renovation.