Uganda Wildlife Authority is a body charged with protecting all animals in Uganda’s protected areas and national parks. The National Parks include Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, Bwindi Impenetrable, Mgahinga, Kidepo Valley, Mount Rwenzori, Mount Elgon, Semliki, Lake Mburo, and Kibale Forest National Parks. Uganda Wildlife authority has initiated many innovations which need to be highlighted as we approach the second half of 2015.
On 1st July 2015, Uganda wildlife Authority successfully relocated fifteen giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park to Lake Mburo National Park in order to increase tourism inflows in the park. Lake Mburo National Park used to harbor giraffes by they became extinct in the 1960’s due to human-animal conflicts. Ecologically therefore, giraffes can survive there and we are sure that tourists will most likely increase hence leading to more tourism business.
Uganda Wildlife authority initiated this promotion when Uganda was celebrating fifty years of independence in 2013 and since then, low season gorilla permits have continued to be offered by UWA in the months of April, May and November where foreign none residents only pay USD350 and Foreign residents with working permits for Uganda only pay USd350 per gorilla permit per trek. This has helped tour operators to increase their sales during low seasons and overall increasing the number of tourists to Uganda.
Initially, Uganda Wildlife Authority could not reschedule any purchased gorilla permits from one date to another but now, UWA can do so as long as one provides a genuine reason as to why this transfer to the new date has to happen. This is meant to curb down losses to clients and tour operators who buy gorilla permits in advance and in the process, their clients cannot trek gorillas on those particular days due to unforeseen circumstances. This has been welcomed by all stakeholders and for one to reschedule these permits, he/she has to write a letter to UWA explaining why they want to change to new dates and must provide receipts of permits that had been purchased. Depending on terms and conditions of the day, this may be approved or not.
Uganda Wildlife Authority moved to reward major partners in the tourism business by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Association of Uganda Tour Operators where for every thirty minutes purchased by the members of the association, a given number of gorilla permits will be given to AUTO. This arrangement will be done every after three months and as such, AUTO will sell these gorilla permits to its members at a discounted rate which will be agreed at a later stage.
Uganda wildlife Authority introduced the card system where all park entrance fees, gorilla and chimp permits have been put on cards instead of papers as it used to be. This has been referred to as cashless tourism where instead of carrying cash, tour guides now take cards. This was resisted at the beginning but tour operators have adopted it and it is working properly