Contrary to traditional forms of tourism such as mass tourism, ecotourism has widely been recognized as an economic diversification and developmental tool, and an appropriate approach for conservation of natural resources for destinations with tourism heritage possessions as it provides protection and economic incentives. The aim of this study is to assess opportunities and challenges for community-based ecotourism development. A mixed research approach was devised and a cross-sectional research design was used. Tools of primary data collection were questionnaires, focus group discussions, interviews and observation checklists. Secondary data were collected from related articles, research and documents obtained from offices. Quantitative data was computed using SPSS version 16.0. The findings revealed that opportunities for community-based ecotourism development are key historical and cultural attractions in the park’s vicinity, undifferentiated geological features with diversity of wildlife, the potential to develop cross-border tourism, potential benefits of ecotourism for local employment and an increase in global demands for ecotourism. Challenges for community-based ecotourism development are global warming and desert expansion, habitat depletion and degradation of natural resources, and diseases like malaria. Plus, a lack of basic infrastructural development such as roads, electricity, telecommunications, accommodation facilities, stakeholder collaboration, promotion and marketing, and human and financial resources are in a poor condition to meet the satisfaction of tourists and locals. The main conclusion drawn from the study is that if properly planned and managed, the park has the potentials for ecotourism development as well as cross-border tourism since Alatish is trans-national park sharing boundaries with Dinder National Park of Sudan, and hence, tourists can get experiences from natural attractions and cultural manifestations of both Ethiopia and Sudan.
"Opportunities and Challenges for Community-Based Ecotourism Development: The Case of Alatish National Park, Northwest Ethiopia,"
International Journal of African Development: Vol. 5:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/ijad/vol5/iss2/6