Ethiopia Western Route

Development of a Western Route for Ethiopia

  • Client: Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Development Project (ESTDP)
  • Partners: Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  • Project Duration: January 2015 – June 2015

Project Overview

Ethiopia has a rich array of unique culture, historic and natural sites that set it apart, including nine World Heritage Sites. However, Ethiopian tourism sites have been economically unproductive in recent times due to minimal availability of investment funds. The ensuing stunted product development in accessibility, maintenance, tourism product presentation tools and interpretation has meant that this rich resource has not been fully utilized.

As such, the Ethiopian government has recently placed greater attention, commitment and investment into boosting the role of the tourism sector. They have increasingly recognized tourism’s vital role in creating more job opportunities and alleviating poverty, as well as driving the overall growth of the nation. Accordingly, the recently adopted National Tourism Policy has resulted in the Ethiopia Sustainable Tourism Development Project (ESTDP).

In support of these projects, the consultancy focused on preparing a destination development plan for emerging tourist destinations along the Western tourist route. The Western tourist route spans across areas rich in diversity; visitors can find a multitude of rare wildlife and flora, as well as tea plantations, coffee plantations, historical museums, waterfalls, monasteries, river canyons and forests.

Major Activities

  • Assess and identify cultural and natural attractions and resources of high economic potential.
  • Define the “Western Route” in a manner that provides visitors with an experience of the ‘best of the west’.
  • Identify comprehensive strategies, areas of interventions and intervention modalities that will be employed to transform cultural and natural resources into economically productive assets.
  • Prepare a development plan for the identified cultural and natural attractions or destinations of the route.
  • Identify the priority areas and interventions for product development.
  • Develop a product development strategy for the route with action steps.


  • An increase of annual international visitors.
  • Increased average spending by visitors’ translating into higher foreign exchange earnings.
  • An increased number of direct and indirect tourism jobs.
  • A clearly identified “Western Route” as well as pinpointed major attractions/destinations along the route.
  • Engaged stakeholders from all spheres who have been informed in line with the regional and national vision for tourism development.
  • A ready strategy and development plan for tourism products and services, based on updated data from newly collected surveys, reports and assessments.
  • Upgraded existing tourism products and the development of new tourism products, both tangible and intangible, as well as the improvement of interrelated infrastructure.


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“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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