One thing visitors in Ethiopia like to do is offer their time and contribute resources to the community. It is also our mission to help support the community, help conserve the environment and bring a positive impact on the local economy. Ethiopia has a fragile environment often hit by recurring droughts due to human interventions like deforestation and over dependence on land. Its subsistence farming which is dependent on seasonal rain barely yields enough to feed the population.
What we do
We have a responsible tourism policy that integrates best case studies of environmental, economic, social and cultural practices. We believe tourism should play a productive role in reducing poverty while leaving a minimal trace on the environment.
We encourage travelers to use more of surface transportation and stay at a place few more days than just hopping from destination to destination, also be in larger groups than just a couple or an individual. The more they are the more they will share the facilities. We encourage them to eat more vegetarian dishes as that is a better way of saving water and encourages locals to grow vegetables in their back yards.
We love to plant trees either directly or through sponsoring them. Soil erosion is a massive problem that is caused by deforestation and overgrazing. It results in droughts and poor soil fertility. Planting trees is a good way to reverse this problem.
Also we are culture sensitive. We play a role on both sides (the cultural sites and the travelers) serving as a link between the two. We advise travelers when they visit tribal areas to learn a few words that help them communicate with the locals. Simple words such as how to greet, how to say thank you, etc. make huge differences. We ask visitors not to rush to take pictures but try to get a live experience with them instead. Also buying few souvenirs will help them appreciate their skills.
We encourage travelers to strictly follow park rules and while they visit cultural and religious sites. At the churches it is a requirement to take off shoes as they are active centers of worship. Also in areas where they are culture sensitive we encourage visitors to be observant and appreciative of local costumes as much as possible.
At the parks, there are guidelines to strictly follow. We encourage the visitors to read them before we start the visit. These guidelines help conserve the environment and entire ecosystem of the parks. Rules such as no drive inside the park after 6 pm, no fire outside designated areas by the parks, litter disposal, no feeding of the wild animals, no use of loudspeakers and many others.
Our missions are
- Minimizing negative impacts as we travel. We use latest cars which could give the traveler better comfort and also save fuel as well as useless emissions.
- Informing travelers and suppliers. Educating suppliers and industry players through various available methods is what we like to do. Anytime we receive a feedback from our visitors, we immediately communicate with the respective supplier.
- Planting trees. Very recently Ethiopia has planted a record number of trees in a single day. This is part of a huge movement that brought the whole country together against global warming problems. We also have contributed donating trees and planting them in some parts of the country.
- Recycling works. We advise travelers to less use plastic bottles while they travel. It is common to see plastic bottles trashed on the tourist trail. We advise accommodation owners to see options such as providing purified water and to carefully collect back the bottles and supply them to recyclers.
- Less flights. Our itineraries are designed in such a way to give the chance to the travelers to spend more days at a specific destination and use more ground transportation than flights. If possible to come with larger groups as sharing the facilities helps conserve the environment.
What you can do
- There are several non-governmental organizations that work on different areas in the urban and rural settings and in different sectors as well. Some are in education, some in livestock, some in clean water provisions, some in gender etc. I am sure all need your support and appreciate your expertise. The best way is to connect with them and get ideas how best you can best fit in.
- If you use a refillable water bottle, it helps minimize plastic usage which is bad for the environment.
- You can make contributions in kind, money, gifts etc. Donating money to charities and local NGOs is something that we like to do ourselves as well as recommend visitors do. Whatever size and amount it is, your support is appreciated. However, we don’t encourage visitors to give money to street beggars as this could create more of a dependence culture as well as encourage children not to go to school.
- Teaching language is what many would appreciate. English language doesn’t come naturally to Ethiopians. He or she need to go to school and study and practice hard to get to know the basics. English language is very essential and has an impact in the day to day lives and future carriers of the boys and girls. They could be a tour guide, work in international restaurants, etc. If you are a native English speaker that is one of the areas you can help at elementary and high schools.
- You can engage in training the locals with simple but beneficial skills. Such skills that could easily improve their way of live, helps them generate more income, or helps them solve their problems.
Bringing books always helps where there is less internet coverage, people don’t find it easy to download books. So used books of any sort will help rural schools. You can donate them to local libraries or schools.
- If you are in the tourism industry, you can have lots of problems to fix. If you are a tour guide, why not share your experience with the local guides?
- Cooking is fun, we Ethiopians have great varieties of cuisine that we can share to the rest of the world. But also many Ethiopians like to experience how foreign cuisine is made. If you are a cook, it will be a great opportunity to show your skills as well as learn from the locals.