Tourism returns have been identified as one major step of reducing poverty levels in the remote areas. To so many Uganda, the tourism is seen as a thing for the foreigners although tourism is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in the country and the increase in the number of tourism returns is as result of an increase in the number of tourists who enter the country to visit Uganda’s national parks and wildlife reserves lately.
The major aim of the wildlife conservation is to eradicate poverty in the remote areas but more so in communities situated around the protected areas and therefore in an effort to do so, Uganda Wildlife Authority put into practice the revenue sharing system through which the those close by communities are entitled to 20% of the park entrance fee every year. Currently, there is shs4b which has been paid out to these communities through their local governments and this money is intended to bring social services closer to the people and also to use it to startup small income generating activities (IGAs) in their communities.
Not so long ago press produced a report that the local communities were not benefiting from tourism revenue which indicated that the local communities have not benefitted at all from tourism income something that is not true. These communities have had projects like classroom blocks, school latrines, health centres, teachers’ houses, irrigation schemes, construction of community halls, road construction and rehabilitation programs, trenches dug, tree planting schemes, gravity water schemes and goat rearing projects to mention but a few and all these are a s a result of the sharing project. This in the long run has helped the local people from walking long distances looking for social services.
It is therefore not true that the communities gave not gained from the tourism income and yet also, there are people who earn from the sale of tourism stock directly to tourists while others are hired for cultural performances thus improvement in the employment opportunities with tour companies, lodges and Uganda Wildlife Authority. For example those who are porter in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale National Park or Mt. Rwenzori National Park get more dollars in a month than any typical civil servant earns annually.