A few of the posts in this blog have discussed the possibility of a decline in tourists numbers as the credit crunch bites.  In East Africa in particular, some countries have reduced park fees for international tourists as a strategy to bring them back to the national parks that are so dependent on tourist revenues and park fees for conservation – particularly for maintaining the delicate balance between local inhabitants and their livestock and wildlife.

Uganda has turned its focus towards locals to support its tourist economy. The Ugandan Tourist Association says it is developing a series of attractive tourist packages for local tourists and is reducing park fees it some of its national parks – such as the Queen Elizabeth national park. It is also reducing the cost of boat trips in the park. In 2006, 8,556 Ugandans visited the park, while 9,835 visited in 2007. Obong said last year 11,563 Ugandans visited Queen Elizabeth National Park. This was almost three times the number of foreign tourists.

No doubt the temptation exists to focus on international travellers who pay higher park fees, but with growing volumes of local tourists, Uganda may be on to something…

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