Community Participation in Tourism Development in Amhara Region: Evidence from Lalibela Town
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Community participation is believed to enhance tourism development. This paper aims at assessing the participation of the community for the enhancement of tourism in Amahara regional state taking evidence from Lalibela. The thesis focuses on three key concepts: community participation in the decision making process; community participation in the sharing of tourism benefits; and the contribution of tourism development to generate income. To achieve this, the research is guided by five interrelated research questions. Hence, to accomplish the objective of the research, the sample size of the study were 158 household respondents. For a better understanding of the context of the research, the thesis employs a case study approach, which enables investigation at the community level to bring together perspectives from the grass-root level and participation of various stakeholders that explores views from a range of stakeholders such as ordinary members of the community, government administration tourism professionals, tourism businesses and tourism projects. The research used household survey, interview and document analysis methods in order to gather the necessary data for the study. The quantitative and qualitative data gathered from these techniques are analyzed and interpreted. According to the finding of the study, the results portrayed that, local communities want to take part in decision making process of tourism in their local area. In general, local people want to see decisions about tourism development in their area made by consulting local people. Local communities acknowledge that tourism provides employment opportunities, encourages a variety of cultural activities and meeting tourists promotes cross cultural exchange. In addition to the decision making process, local communities also want to participate in the sharing of tourism benefits. Tourism businesses have not developed specific mechanisms of sharing tourism benefits. But the tourism businesses create employment opportunities for local people and sponsor different community development activities when they consider it important. Therefore, the researcher recommends that, the government organizations should provide trainings, advice and loans so that local communities can participate in tourism development.