Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA)
Date of Operation: 2008 – 2013
Primary Implementing Partner: FHI 360
Other Implementing Partners: Counterpart International, George Washington University, Solimar, Aid to Artisans, Government of Ethiopia Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Regions of Operation: Oromia and SNNP
Enhance biodiversity conservation and economic development.
- Assist in the creation of sustainable tourism products, services and other opportunities
- Mainstream HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness
One of the most effective ways to protect Ethiopia’s valuable and unique areas of biological significance is for surrounding communities to be connected to the ecotourism industry. The U.S. Government strongly supports the environmentally sustainable tourism as a method of biodiversity conservation. However, the sustainability of such a program depends on its benefits for local people, as their participation determines the program’s success. ESTA provides opportunities for community-based natural resource management through product development and capacity building in local communities, resulting in a holistic approach that integrates economic development and environmental preservation. Artisans working with ESTA learn improved designs of high-quality new handcraft product lines, with a special focus on weaving, carving, and pottery making techniques. The products were designed using ecologically friendly processes and with the tourist target market in mind.
Through income generation, the program teaches local communities that they have an economic stake in the conservation of their surroundings and culture, encouraging them to avoid destroying the environment in an attempt to meet immediate needs. ESTA protects Ethiopia’s landscape and natural resources while empowering local people. Additionally, ESTA supports the creation and utilization of the National Geographic MapGuide. Ethiopia is the second African country to participate in the National Geographic MapGuide, a product shown to increase tourism traffic by bridging the tourism information gap and attracting tourists and tour operators to newly created ESTA community tourism destinations.
A secondary priority focuses on the mainstreaming of HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness along the tourism value chain. More specifically, ESTA creates opportunities for communities to benefit from conservation-based activities through improved livelihoods, natural resource management, and social infrastructure.
- Transition from community-driven planning to community-owned interventions
- Launch National Geographic Geotourism MapGuide
- Communities hire community tourism enterprise managers for their ecotourism businesses
- Handcrafts associations participate in international fairs and established links with buyers
- ESTA-supported handcraft groups become legal associations eligible for Government of Ethiopia [MSE] and microfinance support
- Train community volunteers to deliver grassroots HIV/AIDS prevention
- Provided income generation training to HIV-affected