Climate-smart Conservation-based Ecotourism Programme

Overview

of Climate-smart Ecotourism and Conservation situations of the areas selected for intervention in the first phase

The Hailemariam & Roman Foundation has selected national parks in the remotest areas in the country with perceived needs where the foundation could add value in transforming the tourism and conservation while creating alternative livelihoods for surrounding communities in the six national parks in project areas, namely Awash national park in Afar and Oromiya regional states, Bijmiz national park in Benishangul Gumuz regional state, Gambella national park in Gambella regional state, Omo & Mago national parks in South Omo zone and Chebera Churchura national park in Dawuro zone and Konta special woreda of South Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regional state.

Ecotourism & Conservation Programme

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council Report of 2018, the country has created 604,000 jobs directly from travel & tourism in 2017 which accounts for 2.4% total employment and generated earnings of Ethiopian Birr 50.4 billion.

A further look into these areas indicates that Afar and Oromiya regions are endowed with the Awash River valley, Danakil depression, Erta Ale active volcano, the Fantale Mountain with Crater Lake and hot springs. The Awash national park located at the southern tip of Afar region and the northern corner of East Shewa zone of Oromiya region contains various wild animals and birds in its woodland and grassland forests with spectacular waterfalls. Afar also contains fossils of archaeological significance. These have made the regions one of the major tourist destinations in the country.

Whereas, Benishangul Gumuz region is home to the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under construction on Abay (Nile) river, the biggest dam in the continentwhich is to produce 6,500 MW when completed, and Bejimiz national park, making it one of the areas with great potentials for tourist attractions.

On the other hand, Gambella is home to the Gambella National Park, Ethiopia’s largest park, situated in the Basin of Baro River, a big tributary of Nile River and navigable all the way to Khartoum with spectacular views. Its huge population of wild animals makes it one of the areas in the country with growing tourist visits.

The mosaic cultural heritage of South Omo’s diverse ethnic groups coupled with magnificent habitats of Omo and Mago national parks make it one of the natural areas in the country with great tourist attractions.

Dawuro zone and Konta special woreda contain the Chebera Churchura National Park, the most reliable place to see elephants in Ethiopia in the swampy Maka forest and various wild animals including lions, leopards, buffalos and antelopes. The park also contains four lily-covered crater lakes with plenty of hippos with impressive views, making it one of the areas with great potentials for tourist destinations as it gets developed.

In spite of rich natural resources, these tourist destinations remain largely undeveloped and will require considerable efforts to develop and meet the expected industry standards.

The Hailemariam & Roman Foundation strives to contribute towards transforming ecotourism and conservation in these areas through high level advocacy, joint model initiatives, and capability buildings aimed at bringing enhanced local ownership and leadership of ecotourism & conservation interventions, creating awareness in the community at large, building capacity for effective delivery, emplacing market driven alternative livelihoods for surrounding communities, improving quality of services, and promoting investment including community eco-lodges.