THE CONTROVERSIAL NATIONAL PARK WEEKEND GATE-AWAYS
The Uganda Wildlife Authority earlier disclosed the intention to operate transport and Uganda tour packages to National Parks but this has not been welcomed by some stakeholders especially the private Uganda Safari operators. The range of operators holding the negative disposition over the move note that this semi-autonomous government agency has stepped beyond its limit like never before.
According to Andrew Seguya, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, the initiative intends boost the domestic Uganda Safaris and tours by focusing on the native Ugandans along with East African community citizens with keen interest to corporate companies, friends and families with a dream of visiting the Uganda National Parks.
The body intends to secure ten (10) game drive vehicles along with three (3) double decker boats. The boats will be positioned in the Uganda safari holiday destinations of Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. The body intends to use the pool of these resources to operate weekend gate-aways.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority buses intend to depart Friday Afternoon from Kampala and return Sunday afternoon. This government project will also engage the service providers like Uganda Safari tour lodges in the destinations of interest for affordable rates. The sales team to popularize this arrangement will soon be hired by UWA according to Jossy Muhangi – the UWA public Relations Officer.
However, despite the effort, the private operators are concerned that such government establishment is deviating from the initial cause. The government has to be concerned with creating a favorable environment for the private sector to thrive. Engaging in direct business is not a common phenomenon for government and is hardly heard anywhere else in the region. The operators holding the same feeling argue that the amount to be invested in the buses should be directed to marketing the destination so as to increase the arrivals at the Airport.
But not all operators share the same feeling. Some believe that the target market is different and the UWA strategy to begin gate-aways to National Park is significant as regards conservation.
The buses according to Dr. Seguya of UWA are anticipated to start in the month of December and will feature coffee on board, Wi-Fi, electric sockets; flat screen for visual experience, electric sockets among others that will generate memories for those that would have chosen to take up wildlife safaris in Uganda with them.