A SIMCOT Project Launches

by Leulseged Nigussie

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and the Amhara National Regional State Culture, Tourism and Parks Development Bureau (ANRS-BCTPD) in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), launches a Simien Community Tourism (SIMCOT) Project at Debark city on 18 February, 2012.

At the launching ceremony held in the conference hall of SMNP office, EWCA’s General Director Representative Fetene Hailu expresses that, the project basically aims at realizing a sustainable tourism development in Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP) and its surrounding areas by raising the participation of the community.
The ANRS-BCTPD Head, Mulugeta Seid on his part says, as the park rests with in the five woredas of Debark, Janamora, Adi Arkay, Telemt and Beyeda, the project considered these all surrounding areas to be benefited from it. He added, Gondar, the city used as the access starting point to the SMNP, Debark, the getaway town of the park and Kosoye and Wunania, the farmer villages of the Gondar suburbs, are also included in the project as surrounding areas.
Dr. Noriaki Nishiyama, chief advisor of the SIMCOT project, on the occasion says that the forth coming results of the project are enhancing the capacity of the tourism sector enterprises and creates cooperation among them, booming a capacity to progress the tourism promotion, flourishing the capacity of the tourism industry’s products growth and providing a model to other protected areas on destination management systems and overall development plans by collaborating the people and government efforts.
Different personalities from the Ethiopian and Japanese sides, have presented their papers regarding the project and issues of Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP).
The SMNP is one of the leading tourist destination areas in Ethiopia. In the past six months it is visited by 8,622 tourists, of this 653 are domestic, and the community and the government has gained 2,618,405 birr and 2,36,612 birr 04 cents respectively. The tourists’ number is decreased comparing to last year’s same time because of the current global economic crisis but differently, the income is increased as the tourists invested much in their long stay.
It is known that SMNP is a park endowed with a magnificent landscape and endemic wild animals like, Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon and Ethiopian Wolf and different plant species. It is also remembered that the SMNP is listed under the UNESCO as a world heritage site in 1970 E.C but later in 1988 E.C re-registered as a site under threat as a result of expanding human settlement, agriculture, deforestation, generally environmental degradation and so on.