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Uganda to reap a windfall from solar eclipse

01 November 2013, 12:38 Godfrey Olukya

Kampala - Uganda expects to financially reap big from thousands of tourists and scientists expected to visit the country to view the rare hybrid solar eclipse that will occur on November 3.

Uganda's Pakwach district, which is located 350 Kms on the North of Kampala, was identified by meteorologists as the best place in the world from which people can best view the rare eclipse.

Uganda's tourism Minister, Maria Mutagamba, and a member on the Uganda tourism board who also operates a tour company, Amos Wekesa, anticipate that each solar eclipse tracker will spend not less than 500,000 Uganda shillings (equivalent of 200 US dollars) in Uganda during the course of the event which will see the country earn more money and foreign exchange.

Mutagamba, while addressing the press at media centre in Kampala said, ''We expect 10,000 visitors for the event who will also tour other sites in the country.That is big opportunity for Uganda.''

She urged Ugandans to portray a positive image for the nation.

However, Wekesa added that tourists have started jetting into the country with almost all the hotels in the towns of Entebbe, Arua, Pakwach and Gulu and other areas especially in northern Uganda already fully booked.

Wekesa said, ''There are many local and international tourists who have booked hotels and will be traveling to the north to watch the eclipse. Apart from the eclipse, they will spend several more days visiting our national parks.''

He said that this gives Uganda a challenge to construct more facilities of this kind to tap money in case another such event comes around.

But the junior minister in charge of Primary Health, Sarah Opendi, has warned locals against viewing the eclipse with their naked eyes.

She advised that they should view the eclipse through a water basin and sun glasses adding that doing it with naked eyes can cause optical default to their eyes.

Among those confirmed to be coming are a team of 40 German astronomers, tourists and eclipse hunters.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between the earth and the sun and the moon casts a shadow over earth.

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