Protected Area business planning helps managers to clearly identify and define current and potential revenue sources, consider ways of enhancing revenue collection and plan for the utilization of revenue to implement management plans. However, financial resources are scarce and Protected Area institutions often find themselves using innovative means to generate funds to support PA management. In Uganda and most of Africa, eco tourism hinged on Protected Areas remains one of the major sources of revenue for financing conservation and other national priorities.
Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the institution mandated to manage and protect wildlife in Uganda, relies on multi-year management plans to guide all activities in the Protected Area. These plans are majorly focused on the development of tourism and conservation of nature and wildlife. A significant portion of the proceeds from tourism activities is used to finance operations. However, before WCS’s intervention, UWA did not have up-to-date business plans at both institutional and Protected Area levels on which to base planning and projections. This made it difficult for Protected Areas to assess their financial needs and sustainability. In fact, no Protected Area in Uganda (with the exception of Rwenzori Mountains National Park) has had an independent business plan before.
Between 2009 and 2011, WCS engaged experts to work with UWA to develop business plans for the key conservation areas and UWA as an institution. To date, business plans for six conservation areas (Murchison, Bwindi, Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth (QENP),Kidepo Valley (KVNP) and Mt. Elgon), one protected area (Rwenzori Mountains National Park) and UWA as an institution have been developed. These business plans stipulate full historic and projected financial performance. The plans were based on the unique attributes, tourism potential and cash flows of each individual Protected Area.These plans are not only vital in the estimation of financial requirements tor un Protected Areas in an efficient and sustainable way, but also in the evaluation of free-standing investments as well as constructing quantitative projections of future cash flows. For QENP and KVNP, the business planning process was integral to management planning, resulting in more strategic, realistic and useful plans. The capacity of UWA to carry out independent Protected Area business planning was enhanced and templates to guide to future business planning activities developed.