The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Uganda Tour Operators(AUTO) that targets to boost sales of gorilla tracking permits to foreign Non-Resident Tourists.
The three years cooperation was signed by UWA Executive Director Dr. Andrew Seguya and the Chairperson of AUTO Babra Adoso .
Seguya explained that Uganda need to market its tourism products internationally thus the need to bring the private sector on board.
“We believe the MOU will enhance cooperation in ensuring the development and promotion of gorilla tourism by jointly engaging in well-defined activities and strategies which will market the gorilla tracking product as the best experience and gorilla parks as the best destinations regionally and internationally” he justified the cooperation.
In the new cooperation AUTO members will undertake to market the products , through purchasing gorilla tracking permits from UWA and sell them to tourist from all over the world at prevailing rates.
In the Memorandum of Understanding any tour operator who sells 30 gorilla tracking permits will receive a complimentary permit from UWA.
“We hope that by offering to our tour operators the complimentary permit will entice them to market our tourism products. However the operators will be obliged to pay tax and community contribution out of the revenue they earn from the complementally permit,” Seguya said.
UWA is optimistic that if the different agencies market well Gorilla parks, it will enable the country to earn more from the products since Uganda owns the largest population of Gorilla in the world that stand at 54%.
Gorilla tracking is one of the most precious products in the tourism sector because for Foreign resident Tourist pays USD 600 for the permit residents from the five East African Community pay about Ushs 250,000 per permit.
Adoso commended UWA for bringing the private sector in the marketing of Gorilla tourism.
“The new cooperation will expand our Business and help us to bring on board other members because of the opportunities UWA has offered to the Tour operator,” she said.
The scheme will only apply to gorilla tracking and it will operate under mutually agreed conditions including the specific period for issuing complementally permits rescheduling procedures and utilization.
It’s estimated that Uganda has about 440 gorillas grouped in 12 habituated groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. Only one group is found in Mgahinga Gorilla National park which together provide a total of 104 permits available for sale.