Home Tourism UWA Raises Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking Fees

UWA Raises Gorilla and Chimpanzee Tracking Fees

Investigation Underway as Uganda Wildlife Authority Tackles Gorilla Permit Fraud
Investigation Underway as Uganda Wildlife Authority Tackles Gorilla Permit Fraud
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Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has decided to increase the fees for tracking gorillas and chimpanzees. The cost for gorilla tracking has been raised from $700 (Shs2.7 million) to $800 (Shs3.1 million), while chimpanzee tracking fees have gone up from $200 (Shs762,000) to $250 (Shs953,000). Mr. Sam Mwandha, UWA’s executive director, explained in a letter dated January 17, 2024, sent to the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), that this decision stemmed from a review of the conservation tariff.

However, it’s worth noting that the charges for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking for local tourists remain unchanged.

Although the letter initially mentioned that the new tariffs would come into effect on July 1 of this year, tour operators have reported that the new rates were implemented on January 23, just a day after they received the letter on January 22. This sudden change has caused significant disruption in the tourism industry. Tour operators now find themselves in a challenging position as they had already finalized negotiations with overseas agents based on the previous rates.

Expressing their concerns, tour operators worry about potential legal disputes with their overseas partners and the resulting financial losses. They argue that such abrupt changes, without prior consultation or adjustment time, threaten the stability of the industry. Some operators even feel neglected by the government, citing challenges such as recovering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and dealing with other legislative issues like the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

One operator lamented the situation, highlighting the industry’s significant contribution to the country’s tourism revenue and the challenges they face, including poor road infrastructure leading to tourist sites like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This increase in tracking fees, without adequate communication or consultation, exacerbates their difficulties and poses a threat to the industry’s viability.