Ecotourism and Outdoor Recreation Development in Harego and Bededo Urban Fringe Protected Areas, Ethiopia: Exploring Opportunities, Challenges, and Prospects
Ecotourism, outdoor recreation, and protected areas are interlinked and thus, most of the ecotourism and outdoor recreational activities are conducted in protected areas. The study's primary purpose is to describe the opportunities and challenges and pinpoint possible strategies for outdoor recreation and ecotourism development in the urban fringe protected areas of Harego and Bededo protected areas, Ethiopia. The primary data was collected through a qualitative approach, interviews with purposely selected experts and personal observation. From the findings, several opportunities were identified including the availability of other tourist attractions around Harego and Bededo, the geographical position of the sites, the coming newly constructed railway, and the presence of the Kombolcha integrated industrial park. Even though opportunities exist some challenges were also identified. These challenges include the presence of unwanted trash in the natural protected areas, the encroachments of the local community on the protected areas, the planting of non-indigenous trees, unplanned management of protected areas of Harego and Bededo, landslides, and erosion problems. Finally, possible strategies were identified and presented for developing ecotourism and outdoor recreation in the study area.
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