Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Ethiopian Tour Operators Association held a panel discussion on community based tourism on Tuesday September 30th at Capital Hotel where tour operators and stakeholders in the hospitality sector were present.
The panel discussion was mainly focused on community based tourism and what needs to be done for it to develop and expand in Ethiopia overcoming the challenges the tourism sector as a whole faces.
“There are several challenges. One is that, in general the concept of tourism is still new to Ethiopia, it has only around 25 years of history. Although Ethiopia has huge potential, to utilize that we need to further develop our understanding and knowledge about the sector,” said Fitsum Gezahegn, President of the Ethiopian Tour Operators Association.’
According to him, the concept of community based tourism is even newer to Ethiopia which has contributed to the slow development.
“The concept is very new, not only to us but to the world as well. Many other countries, since they have a longer history and experience in the tourism sector, they have been able to easily catch up on the concept of community based tourism. For us, since the whole sector is very young to begin with, we have been a bit slow in catching up to that trend,” said Fitsum.
Although community based tourism has not developed fast, there are several organizations working on the sector and different projects have been carried out in parts of Ethiopia that have shown success.
“This is one of the reasons we held this panel discussion on community based tourism, we wanted more tour operators to work on the concept and help our communities to promote sustainable development,” Fitsum added.
Read more at: Capital