To date tourism revenue sharing (TRS) programs have met mixed success in National Parks. Local conditions and national policies that shape the success of TRS programs were identified by comparing the experiences of both implementers and beneficiaries of pilot TRS programs at ten parks in Uganda. Between 1995 and 1998, communities around these parks used a total of US $83 000 of tourism revenue to build 21 schools, four clinics, one bridge, and one road. In 1996, the Ugandan parliament passed legislation that changed both the amount of money available for TRS and the institutions responsible for sharing the money. The program was suspended at all ten National parks while the implementing agency (Uganda Wildlife Authority) struggled to design a program that complied with the new legislation. TRS funds collected before 1996 were shared through 1998, but since then no revenue has been shared. In semi-structured interviews, both implementers and beneficiaries evaluated local TRS program and compared them to other benefit-sharing projects, particularly those promoting sustainable use of non-timber products within park boundaries (n = 44). Both groups of respondents listed revenue-sharing as the most important advantage of living next to a national park. Seventy-two per cent of respondents indicated that they thought TRS had improved attitudes towards the protected areas, and 53% thought TRS was more important then sustainable use of non-timber forest products. Although respondents were generally positive about TRS, in informal discussions respondents repeatedly mentioned four potential obstacles to TRS success, namely poorly defined TRS policies and unsteady implementing institutions, corruption, inadequate funds, and numerous stakeholders with differing priorities. From this survey and literature from experiences in other African countries, there are four key components of successful revenue-sharing programs: long-term institutional support, appropriate identification of the target community and project type, transparency and accountability, and adequate funding. With firm institutional support and realistic expectations, TRS can play an important role in improving local attitudes towards conservation.