Four National Parks in Uganda that won the prestigious Trip Advisor award of excellence did not fluke the awards, the park managers say. Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest retained the titles while Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo National Parks won the awards for the first time.
The managers attribute the awards to the fact that they have all put a lot of efforts in ensuring that the parks offer the best customer experiences to tourists.
Queen Elizabeth and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest retained the titles while Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo National Parks won the awards for the first time.
For the Murchison Falls, the management felt they had been cheated for a long time by not winning the awards. Tom Okello, the Area Conservation Manager, says after the turbulent past, the park once again emerged the most visited in the country. He says when he saw the other parks winning the awards, he felt cheated. The manager attributes the success to the way they managed the oil exploration within the park.
Total E&P until recently has been exploring oil in the area. Okello says most people had feared that with the oil exploration, there would be reduced number of tourists and the conservation efforts would be compromised. He however says when many people visited and saw how conservation and oil activities went side by side without conflicting, they were impressed. He says during all that period, tourism and conservation were given a priority, a factor that impressed the visitors.
//Cue in: "It was basicallyâ€¦
Cue out: â€¦because of that."//
He also attributes the success to the teamwork and the team of dedicated guides. He says they have trained all the rangers and guides to offer tourists the much needed information. He says even if they picked anyone from the gates, the person has all the information about wildlife and tourism in the area.
In Queen Elizabeth National Park, the situation is not different. The area conservation Manager, Nelson Guma, says they decided to fund an association called Friends of the Queen, which meets regularly to offer the best. He says the friends have done well in marketing the park. He says the park maintains high standards which cannot easily be compromised. The manager says they have teamed with private operators outside the park that also offer quality services.
//Cue in: "In Queen Elisabethâ€¦
Cue out: â€¦to our clients."//
Pontius Ezuma, the Conservation Manager for Bwindi National Park, says since they are dealing with a rare species, they have had advantage over the others. He says he would have been surprised if the park never won the award this year. He says they had engaged the rangers in intensive training in how to both manage the customers and the gorillas.
//Cue in: "When a touristâ€¦
Cue out: â€¦part of us."//
Ezuma says with steady marketing of the gorilla destination, the park is determined to win more awards.
Jossy Muhangi, the Public Relations Manager of Uganda Wildlife Authority, says the awards will give Ugandan an edge over the other tourism destinations. He says the focus must now be in ensuring that other parks that have not won the awards get on board and win consistently. He says this will give the tourists confidence that Uganda as a tourism destination has the best to offer.