Although the information has been kept under tight wraps, details are beginning to emerge that the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the Uganda tour operators association AUTO have struck a deal to lower the gorilla tracking permits, presently costing US Dollars 500 year round, during the ‘low season’ which however was not defined by dates as yet. A ‘low season’ tariff of US Dollars 350 per person appears to be floating around but is also still to be officially confirmed, while regular sources however gave the ‘nod’ to the question.
The decision will put Uganda Wildlife Authority on a collision course of sorts with Rwanda and Congo DR, as a tripartite forum some time ago had resolved that all three countries would charge the same rates, year round, without any rebates, discounts or seasonal adjustments.
Should therefore ministerial consent be given to the tariff adjustment in Uganda, for whatever ‘low season’ period may be determined, there is an even chance of tariffs for the rest of the year being looked at again with an eye to adjust them upwards to avoid financial losses for the organization.
The move was arguably initiated by the tourism fraternity over concerns of falling sales in the face of negative global publicity for the country, which while one-sided and mostly inaccurate nevertheless is what media houses chose to put on air or into print media with little if any regard to ‘the truth’ or the damage they are doing to the country as a whole and the tourism industry in particular.