Uganda’s Tourism Police has arrested a local tour operator accused of fleecing tourists of $21,500.
Richard Tusasibwe, the Director of Gatatu Safaris Limited based in Kigezi sub-region was taken into custody after police arrested him at Arcadia Cottages in Kabale, near Lake Bunyonyi; where he had taken other tourists for a trip.
According to Tourism Police Commander, CP Frank Mwesigwa, Tusasibwe was arrested after being identified by covert teams at check-in. He is currently being held at Kabale Police station and charged with obtaining money by false pretence.
Tusasibwe is alleged to have been contracted by 5 American tourists to organize chimpanzee and gorilla tracking expedition in Uganda. After an airport pickup and arrival in Kisoro, he abandoned the tourists at a lodge and has been on the run for the past two weeks.
Uganda Tourism Board Quality Assurance Manager, Samora Semakula said the board was working around the clock to ensure that quality standards and the law are upheld in the tourism sector and that rogue operators face the law.
“We are pleased that the police has arrested a rogue operator who has been on the run for the last two weeks since this case was brought to our attention. Rogue tour operators are a peril to the growth and development of the sector. Uganda Tourism Board will continue to work with the tourism police and other players in the sector to ensure that the vice is brought to a conclusive end,” Semakula said.
Mwesigwa added, “As Tourism Police, we are committed to clean up quack tour operators who con our tourists. Uganda remains a peaceful and secure country and all efforts together with stakeholders is to ensure that law and order is upheld in the tourism sector and the country at large.”
As mandated by the Tourism Act (2008) Uganda Tourism Board earlier this year kicked off registration and licensing exercise of all tour operators and facilities in the tourism value chain. This process is aimed to effectively regulate the tourism sector and promote quality assurance across the value chain.