Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ENA
The Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA), with the support of the U.S. Government, has launched the development of National Geographic Map Guide.
ESTA Director, Bedilu Shegen said the Map Guide will promote the natural, cultural and historic resources of Ethiopia’s central and southern Rift valleys.
The Map Guide as part of ESTA’s effort to empower communities to earn income from tourism in order to mitigate natural resource degradation associated with unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation.
The information enshrined by the map will attract tourists from all corners of the globe and reverse the bleak picture painted by past years, he said.
The map guide would be compiled by professionals from American National Geographic Society in a six months time.
The project began with a start-up workshop, led by Jim Dion, Director of National Geography’s Map Guide initiative, which allowed key tourism stakeholders in Ethiopia to help determine the significant sites, themes and over all content of the Map Guide.
The Map Guide will be the second produced by National Geographic for Africa, representing an important partnership between National Geographic, ESTA, the Horn of Africa-Regional Environmental Centre (HoA-REC), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and tourism.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director, Jason Fraser opened the workshop for representatives of large tour operators hotel and lodge owners and non governmental and donor organizations providing support to develop Ethiopia’s tourism sector.
“ By supporting ESTA and its promotion of echo-tourism, USAID is helping Ethiopians conserve the ecosystem that provide for their water, food, shelter
and livelihoods” Fraser said.
Representatives from the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Oromia Bureau of Culture and Tourism and Ethiopian Airlines also participated in the half-day workshop.
Some 250,000 US dollar used to implement the project in Ethiopia was secured from United States Agency for International Development.