Addis Ababa March 22/2013 Two new U.S. government supported tourism destinations were inaugurated Friday in the Central Rift Valley, Oromia Region, the Embassy of the United States of America here said.
According to a statement the Embassy sent to ENA, through the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA) project with funding from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the new community based tourism sites in Lephis and Ziway are open for tourists.
The statement said the sites were developed to present natural and historic attractions and activities in an eco-friendly manner that will maximize the benefit for the local community.
The attractions and activities include, among others, traditional tukuls, the Lephis Waterfall, bird-watching, Tulu Gudo Island, viewing handicrafts made by area artisans and enjoying the fresh local grilled fish.
USAID Ethiopia Agricultural Officer Cullen Hughes commented that both the land and communities in the destination must be healthy and productive for tourism to be successful and sustainable.
Hughes also said the project's holistic development approach has created the ideal environment for tourism growth and provides visitors with an authentic experience of Ethiopia.
Ziway and Lephis are part of an innovative network of six community conservation areas that not only create ecotourism opportunities but will also attract other business and provide benefit to about 40,000 local community members.
The ESTA project which is implemented by Counterpart International, is a five-year seven million USD initiative that promotes biodiversity conservation through sustainable tourism and other alternative livelihoods.
Some 34 associations have been created to support sustainable livelihood generation and biodiversity conservation in the Central and Southern Rift Valleys in Ethiopia, according to the statement.