Addis Ababa, December 16, 2011 (Addis Ababa) - The National Geographic MapGuide designed to showcase to the national and international audiences the natural and cultural attractions that define the Central and Southern Rift Valley areas was launched here on Thursday.
Director-General of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Yonas Desta on the occasion said the MapGuide will fill the tourism information gap in the country.
The MapGuide is the first in Ethiopia and the second Geo-Tourism MapGuide in Africa, the director said.
Efforts are underway to expand such kind of activities to other attraction sites of the country, he said, adding, currently, 10,000 copies of the MapGuide have been readied to be distributed among tourists.
He also lauded USAID and Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance (ESTA) as well as the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre for taking the initiative in helping to develop the MapGuide.
ESTA, a five-year USAID Program Director, Bedlu Shegen on his part said such kind of activity is vital to Ethiopia’s tourism development.
The development of the map guide is a result of an extensive participatory site nomination and field data collection process that involved local community leaders, national and regional culture and tourism offices, the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, tour operators and local NGOs in the targeted areas, the program director said.
He expressed appreciation to the Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia for providing the major share of the funding for the MapGuide development.
Representative of the USAID Ethiopia, Randy Chester on the occasion said the MapGuide will contribute share to promote Ethiopia’s potential tourism resource to the outside world.
Netherlands Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hans Blankenberg on his part said the MapGuide will bring Ethiopia and its exceptional assets closer to the world.
The MapGuide is an important landmark in the implementation of ecotourism development program in Ethiopia