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PRACTICES OF DOMESTIC TOURISM IN ETHIOPIA: POTENTIALS, OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES [Abstract ID: 1212-01]
Ethiopia has been epitomized with diverse natural, cultural, historical and archaeological tourism resources. Despite the recent moves towards critical institutional reforms, infrastructural expansions, development of destinations and promotional endeavors underway in the tourism sector, the trends and practices of domestic tourism fall below ones expectation. As a result, the contribution of domestic tourism in the discourses of development appeared negligible. The share of domestic tourism in the realization of sustainable tourism development pillars was also out of sight. In tandem with these perspectives, the review of knowledge created on the development, management and promotion of tourism resources in Ethiopia inclined more towards linking and tailoring tourism in international frameworks than a reasonable concentration toward domestic tourism practice. Coupled with this, there is little available research results and topics in Ethiopia covering issues dealing with eco-tourism, community based tourism, culture-based tourism, impacts of tourism (positive and negative), community engagements on tourism and the roles of various actors [private, government, NGOs and other stakeholders in tourism]. As a whole, there has been paucity of knowledge on the trends, practices, potentials and challenges of tourism in Ethiopia, especially in terms of producing knowledge that impacts policy implementation environs, taking strategic options and uplifting domestic tourism towards realizing sustainable developments goals. Consequently, this paper would shade a light on the practices of domestic tourism in Ethiopia deploying mixed research methods [qualitative and quantitative techniques] informed with the philosophy of pragmatism. The paper will specifically explore the potentials, opportunities and challenges that either enhance or undermine domestic tourism in Ethiopia. Following the outcomes of the study, strategic options will be indicated to give options to enhance domestic tourism while edifying the manners to overcome the challenges that impeded domestic tourism in the national and regional context. Policy, development and further research implications will be drawn from the outcomes and conclusions of the investigations.