Ethiopia’s Ecotourism Potential

Ethiopia's Gelada baboons
Ethiopia's Gelada baboons

Ethiopia is eyeing harnessing its ecotourism potential as an instrument in poverty reduction, according to the country’s Minister of Culture and Tourism.

Speaking at the inauguration of a book entitled ‘ ‘ The Fundamentals of Community Based Ecotourism Development in Ethiopia,’ ‘ Minister, Amin Abdulkadir said the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) has considered tourism as a tool for development.

The Ministry is exerting an all-out-effort to develop the sector.

Hence, he urges the community, investors, NGOs and higher education institutions to actively participate for the same cause.

The minister said the book would serve as an important tool for students, researchers, planners and policy makers who want to come up with workable strategy that supports sustainable ecotourism development in the country.

He said the Ministry encourages researchers and authors who contribute to development of the sector.

The Ministry National Co-coordinator of Ethiopia’s Cultural Heritage Preservation Project, Dr. Theodros Atlabachew on his part said properly managed sustainable tourism development could serve as a powerful tool to alleviate poverty.

The Nation has untapped historical, cultural and natural attractions, he said and added, the book would be a resource for those who are interested to engage in the sector.

According to him, the book has focused on identifying ecotourism development problems, proposing possible strategic solutions and addressing issues comprehensively.

Addis Ababa University (AAU) of College of Development Studies Dean, Dr. Degefa Tolossa on his part said the University is conducting research on sustainable tourism development.

He said the book would have paramount significance to the development of community based ecotourism in Ethiopia.

The dean said the book could help enhance research activities in tourism and serve as a reference material to students.

Tourism Development postgraduate students Mesfin Worku and Ermiyas Kifle on their part said the book has included various maps of tourist attractions, their routes and related information used for tourists and professionals in the sector.

The author of the book Dr. Mulugeta Feseha, Associate Professor in College of Development Studies in AAU said the book includes information on tourism resources mapping, community-based ecotourism development, linking tourism with local agriculture and environmental rehabilitation, among others.

The GTP has targeted to register, develop, and promote all designated cultural heritages, national attractions, and tourist sites with a view to enhance the contribution of culture and tourism to the efforts of making Ethiopia middle income country and build its image, among others.

A Team of researchers in AAU has published a book entitled  ‘ Participatory Tourism the Future of Ethiopia’ ‘ in 2010 led by the current author, Associate Professor, Mulugeta Feseha.

Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. It typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists insight into the impact of human beings on the environment, and to foster a greater appreciation of natural habitats.

Senior government officials, university scholars, invited guests and trainees in the tourism sector have attended the inauguration ceremony.