The Challenges of Tourism Resources Conservation and Management in Abijata-Shala Lakes National Park, Central Rift Valley, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


The Abijata-Shala Lakes National Park (ASLNP) was established in 1970 over an area of 887 km2 of land, to conserve the spectacular aquatic birds and the biodiversity of the locality. It is one of the most beautiful spots of Ethiopia, possessing blue lakes edging with flat-topped acacia trees, magnificent wealth of avifauna, the lava caves, and hot springs. Two Important Bird Areas are registered within this park where it contains over 436 bird species, and is a home for a total of 76 mammal species. Besides of their ecological values, the park resources enabled to generate about 2.1 million ETB to the national economy through tourism provision between the years of 1989 to 2007, and created job opportunities for citizens. However, most of the objectives for the establishment of the ASLNP are not yet implemented and realized. Conflicting objectives are prevailing conceming the conservation of resources among stakeholders. There are two types of incompatible land use systems, consumptive and non-consumptive, going on in the national park, which affected the natural resources to the extent that the whole ecosystem functioning and its biodiversity is put in jeopardy. Currently population settlement, farm land expansion, overgrazing, tree cutting, fishing, sand mining, mineral salt extraction, and water abstraction constitute the major challenges of nature conservation with their serious consequences on the tourism resources. Population pressure, land scarcity, poverty, loose stakeholders coordination, and the conservation policies and approaches practiced for decades are found to be among the major driving forces for the huge resource degradation in the park. This study made a thorough investigation on the existing conservation and management challenges, their sources, causes, and consequences on the tourism attractions in the national park. For this purpose, adequate data was generated from different primary and secondary sources using various techniques. In the primary data collection process, 100 households, 24 visitors and other stakeholders from the surrounding were administered by way of survey questionnaire. The process was backed by discussion, interview and observation in the study area, where the author believes it was vital to understand the perception, outlook and resource handling mechanism of different actors within the ASLNP



Tourism Resources Conservation