POTENTIALITY ASSESSMENT FOR ECOTOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN DIDA HARA CONSERVATION SITE OF BORENA NATIONAL PARK, ETHIOPIA
The main objective of this research is identifying the ecotourism resources and products for ecotourism development in the Dida Hara conservation site of BoranaNational Park, Oromia Regional state, Ethiopia. The study used cross-sectional descriptive research design. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used. The data were collected by using questionnaire, interview, field observation and secondary document analysis. The questionnaire was distributed to the visitors in order to determine the market demand by using convenience sampling technique. Interview was conducted with office personnel’s, tour operators and selected local community representatives and selected by using non- probability sampling technique.
The study revealed that, Dida Hara conservation site of Borana National Park has potential ecotourism resources especially in terms of wildlife (more than 40 mammal species), birds (more than 280 bird species) and cultural resources (especially Borana community Gada system and Buna Qalla ceremony). The Park area is the center of endemic birds like; Ethiopian Bush Crow, White Tailed Swallow, Prince Ruspoil’s Turaco. The presence of such untapped ecotourism resources has also a potential for community participation including natural resources conservation and awareness for negative and positive impacts of ecotourism. The local communities are also positive towards ecotourism development in the destination. Based on the visitors survey result more than 90 % are interested to view wildlife and birds and 86.5 % of the visitors are willing to recommend for others to visit the site. Besides these, the visitors survey revealed that around 97.8 % of the respondents are consider themselves as ecotourist and willing to spend more money to ecotourism destination (84.3) as compared to regular tourism destination. Furthermore the study confirmed that the identification of ecotourism resources play a significant role for the development of ecotourism and for marketing the destination for the future. In this destination no research has conducted in related with the potential resources for ecotourism development by using such multi-directional data collection tools including market demand analysis.
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