Assessment of Ecotourism Potentials of Protected Areas: The Case of KAFTA-SHERARO National Park, NW Ethiopia

Assessment of Ecotourism Potentials of Protected Areas: The Case of KAFTA-SHERARO National Park, NW Ethiopia

Addisu Asefaa

Abstract

Ethiopia is characterized by its high level of diversity and endemism of flora and fauna, scenic and contrasting landscapes, nations with diverse culture and tradition, and amazing historical places. Although these resources are of huge importance for developing tourism industry, which plays an invaluable role in boosting the local and national economy and creating job opportunities, the country is currently known and visited mostly from its historical aspect. Nature-based tourism activities, particularly wildlife-based and the landscape and ecosystem which they are part, in the country’s protected areas is still under developed. This study was conducted in the Kafta - Sheraro National Park, NW Ethiopia, with the main aim to determine the feasibility for development of ecotourism at the area. Specifically, we carried out assessment, in and around the KSNP in June/July 2016, of ecotourism attractions; ii) availability and status of tourist infrastructure and public services; iii) market demand, and supply and competitiveness; and iv) human and institutional capacity of the park. We followed three main steps to undertake attraction inventory in and around the park. First, we carried out a rapid assessment fieldwork to identify, record and characterize potential tourism attractions. Then, we held a series of discussions and meetings with key informants selected from local communities and government authorities found from kebele to regional levels. Finally, we evaluated tourism importance of the attractions using the following criteria, where applicable: unilass="breadcrumb breadcrumb-horizontal">

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