Community Based Ecotourism and Its Role in Local Benefit and Community Perceptions of Resource Conservation: A Case Study in Adaba-Dodola Districts, South Ethiopia

Israel Petros Menbere


Ecotourism is a recently emerged concept described as ecologically friendly, economically viable and socially acceptable form of tourism. It has basic principles for conservation of environment, local culture, and ensuring the major beneficiary and participation of local communities. This research paper aimed to determine the practice of community based ecotourism and its role in local benefit and community perceptions of resource conservation in Adaba-Dodola districts, in South Ethiopia. In the study area, some communities are participant while others are nonparticipant of the community based ecotourism program intervention. The participant kebeles also vary depending on area closure, time of establishment and total number of households who are involved in the program. Moreover, the issues related to income generating ecotourism activities, opportunities to promote ecotourism, local attitudes towards the ecotourism program and challenges that impact the community based ecotourism in the area have not been well documented. A total 213 sample households, consisting 107 CBECT program and 106 non-program groups, were randomly selected from 5 program and 5 counterfactual kebeles, respectively. The primary data were collected through questionnaires, interviews, field visits and focused group discussions. Document reviews were also made to support the study. The quantitative data were analyzed through descriptive statistics while the qualitative data were analyzed in the form of narrations. The result of the study indicated that tour guiding, house renting, horse renting, traditional handcraft selling, safari hunting assistant and other activities like vegetable supply and honey provision as the income generating ecotourism activities in the districts. Revenue generation, involvement in cooperatives, employment opportunities and market for local products were the main ways of community benefit from ecotourism in the area. Diversity of ecotourism attractions, enthusiasm of local peoples for ecotourism and economic and infrastructural development were found to be the main opportunities to promote the importance of ecotourism in the site. The perception of participant communities on the importance of community based ecotourism in resource conservation and livelihood improvement showed a higher positive response than nonparticipants of the ecotourism program. The perception of both participant and nonparticipant groups on conservation challenges indicated that farmland expansion, inter resource use conflict and unsustainable resource use as the three main perceived conservation problems by both participants and nonparticipants of the ecotourism intervention. Absence of common governing rule and inadequate implementation of the ecotourism program were also the main causes of resource depletion revealed by participant and nonparticipant groups. Problem of non-ecotourism members and increasing demand for agricultural land were the main identified challenges of the community based ecotourism program in the areas. The participation and collaboration of different ecotourism stakeholders is suggested to promote community based ecotourism program and its role in the area.

Keywords: Adaba, benefit, community-based, Dodola, conservation, ecotourism, perception.

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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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