Regional Sustainability ›› 2023, Vol. 4 ›› Issue (4): 453-464.doi: 10.1016/j.regsus.2023.11.007

• Full Length Article • Previous Articles    

A tale of duality: Community perceptions towards the ecotourism impacts on Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

ABUHAY Tewodrosa,b,*(), TESHOME Endalkachewc, MULU Gashawb   

  1. aDepartment of Political Science and Governance Studies, University of Gondar, Gondar, 196, Ethiopia
    bDepartment of Development and Environmental Management Studies, University of Gondar, Gondar, 196, Ethiopia
    cDepartment of Tourism and Hotel Management, University of Gondar, Gondar, 196, Ethiopia
  • Received:2023-05-03 Revised:2023-10-12 Accepted:2023-11-29 Online:2023-12-30 Published:2024-01-09
  • Contact: ABUHAY Tewodros


This study aims to analyze how park households perceive the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts of ecotourism in Simien Mountain National Park (SMNP), Ethiopia. We combined qualitative and quantitative techniques for data collection. A sequentially embedded mixed design that gives priority to quantitative data was used. We also employed a multistage sampling technique to select respondents from three districts or woredas, namely Debark, Janamora, and Beyeda woredas. Finally, 397 participants were involved in the study from a random selection of three villages from each district or woreda. Data were gathered using a survey questionnaire, interviews, and focus group discussions. Data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistical methods, including means, standard deviations, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and logistic regression models. The findings from a logistic regression analysis revealed that ecotourism participation had a significant relationship with gender (B=1.850, P=0.023), level of education (B=0.238, P=0.032), geographical location (B=0.420, P=0.041), and occupation (B=0.920, P=0.019). This investigation suggested that males and individuals with a higher educational background are more likely to possess optimistic perspectives concerning the impacts of ecotourism. Furthermore, individuals residing in districts relatively near ecotourism destinations, those engaged in tourism-related work, and younger participants were recognized as having optimistic viewpoints regarding the impacts of ecotourism. In conclusion, the study highlighted the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to maximize ecotourism’s benefits and minimize negative effects in SMNP. To achieve this, it is recommended that the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Agency, the Ministry of Tourism, and local government should work together to develop sustainable tourism plans that enhance local livelihoods and park conditions. Efforts should focus on increasing the participation of females and individuals with lower education levels through training and resource provision.

Key words: Ecotourism, Perception of ecotourism impacts, Ecotourism participation, Protected area resident, World heritage site, Semien Mountains National Park (SMNP), Ethiopia