Friday, August 16, 2013

Setting new standarts in community based tourism in Ethiopia

On my latest trip crossing the the rift valley in Ethiopia, I stopped in Hosana, a small town off the tourist track. Thanks to my friend who new about my recent interest in tourism as rural development, this stop has become one of the most interesting on of my trip. Some 5- 6 km away, we met a rural community, which is on the point of launching new ways for rural tourism. It is a community who is going to set new standards in social tourism.

The community lodge
With the support of an NGO, the community set up a community lodge (which is registered under Ethiopian law and can legally host guests), women labor exchange organisation produce local good, which are sold to the community as well as the guest.
The community offers day program, with local food and drinks. The community can offer basket making workshops, horse riding or playing traditional games. 

A tukul from, with a traditional bed
There are also some tukuls where tourists could sleep on traditional beds. These are hard bed upon which traditional mattresses made of some local grasses are put on.  In the case there are too many tourist, then some people can stay with community members in their houses.

A beautiful traditional roof of the lodge

Traditional toilets are being build and a generator providing electricity should be installed by November. Water will be carried from local source (just as all the community member do every day).

When one talk to the representatives one feels that the community as a whole has invested a lot of energy and has a lot of hope. The community is well organised, insuring that benefits from tourism are shared among all, and that the benefit is spent based on a participatory way, insuring that community really want and bothers about (unlike donations that might not correspond to the need of the community). Visiting them is not just an experience for the tourist who can learn about traditional lifestyle and enter in close contact of what is "real Ethiopian rural life", but is a way for rural development, allowing the community to insure its future without begging or depend on aid. It is socially responsible tourism, as i have hardly found anywhere else. 

The representative of the community in the lodge
In the up-coming post, which will be labelled with inside travel, i will go into details of the benefit sharing mechanisms that have been set in place, as well as the historical background on how this project has emerged. So stay posted :-)! 

Wanna go and meet this community? Contact Inside Travel or myself!  

No comments:

Post a Comment