Uganda wildlife Authority introduced their cashless/smart card system to replace the cash and receipt systems that were being used to receive entrance fees to National Parks previously. This card system started in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where all gorilla permits were put on cards. This has been working very well and individuals and tour operators seem to have adopted and accept this. Following the success of gorilla permits on cards, Uganda Wildlife rolled out this card ad cashless system to other national parks such as Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale and Murchison Falls National park where all park entrance fees were put on smart cards in a process of whipping out receipts and paying at the gate. This development was very good as it would reduce on cash being carried by Tour guides who are sometimes attached by thief’s. On top of that, no one can steal the money loaded on these cards as a code or password is required.
To effect this, machines to detect money on these cards were installed at several points that includes Uganda Wildlife Authority head office in Kampala, Katunguru Queen Elizabeth Park Headquarters and Queens Pavillion in Kikorongo to cater for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Nshara gate to cater for Lake Mburo National Park, Buhoma to cater for those from Bwindi and they are going to ishasha side of Queen Elizabeth National Park and in Fortportal to cater for Kibale National Park.
Right from the beginning, this cashless system was rejected by majority local tour operators saying that the same system was first applied in Kenya and it failed. Cashless system was packaged together with a proposal of putting gorilla permits online something that was strongly resisted by local tour operator on ground that it would expose them to competition from international tour operators and as a result, the relationship between Uganda Wildlife Authority and Local Tour Operators worsened and because of this, UWA decided to launch this cashless system without testing it and consulting local tour operators who are the major stakeholders in as far as bringing tourists to Uganda National Parks are concerned.
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