Identification of Potential Eco-tourism Site Suitability Using AHP and GIS in Dinsho District of Bale Zone, Southeastern Ethiopia

Kefa Feye Garedew


Ecotourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the tourism industry at present. Ecotourism has attracted increasing attention in recent years, not only as an alternative to mass tourism, means of economic development and environmental conservation. The present study is identifying the potential ecotourism sites in Dinsho district of Bale Zone, Southeastern Ethiopia using Geographic information system (GIS) and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP).  This study was assessed the potential suitable areas for ecotourism based on Landscape (land use land cover), Topography (elevation, slope, aspect) and Climate Characteristics (rainfall). These factors were selected based to the literature reviews and the data availability. First, a resource inventory and a list of ecotourism criteria and factors were developed using the AHP method on ArcGIS 10.5. At the next stage GIS techniques were used to measure the ranking of different sites according to the set factors and identify those with the high, moderate, less and not suitable. Later, the ecotourism potential suitability map for ecotourism was created, based on the linear combination of the criteria and factors with their respective weights. The degree of suitability of each factor was classified as highly suitable, moderately suitable, less suitable and not suitable for ecotourism. The result of the study revealed that highly suitable for ecotourism potential area accounts for 24.43% (15873.6 ha), moderately suitable accounts 15.48% (10062.7ha), less potential areas 52.79% (34298.4 ha) and 7.30% (4739.7ha) not suitable in the study area. Therefore, this study shows that the district has high potential of ecotourism which can contribute to the livelihood of the community through sustainable natural resource management. GIS and AHP are essential and effective for ecotourism site suitability selection.

Keywords: Ecotourism, Suitability, Analytic Hierarchy Process, GIS, Factors

DOI: 10.7176/JTHS/52-02

Publication date: December 31st 2020

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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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