Socio-economic and environmental effects of tourism in Konso Terrace and cultural landscape, Ethiopia: perception of local communities
Tourism is a huge industry, which is a Source of immense benefits to the host communities and damages to their socio-cultural and environmental aspects. The local communities ' perception of these impacts is also a vital subject that determines their involvement in the development of the sector. This study was conducted to assess the perception of Konso-Karat communities, in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia, about the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of tourism in Konso Terrace and Cultural Landscape, which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia. The data for the research were collected using questionnaires, interview, observation and consultation of documents and literatures. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics like frequencies and percentages of each response, a t-test and ANOVA. The study revealed that much of the benefit accruing from tourism goes to a few individuals, mainly those who have direct contact with tourists. However, the majority of the community is very pleased with some impacts of tourism, like taking pride in their culture, strengthening cultural heritage preservation, publicising the local Konso culture to the rest of the world, and building the positive images of Konso as a magnificent tourist attraction. On the other hand, the study showed that the sign of infuriation against the impacts of tourism in broadening rural to urban migration, criminal acts, materialising some of their cultural values and aggravating school dropouts. The result also indicated a growth in their resentment on the role of tourism in exacerbating the cost of living, expenditure of locals, and congestion and crowding of settlement. The benefit from the tourism, more than any other factors, has shaped the perception of local community members. Hence, in the endeavour to attain sustainable tourism development with socioeconomic sustainability in Konso, every stakeholder should take the necessary steps to reduce the hazards and maximize the remunerations.
Keywords: tourism, terrace and cultural landscape, UNESCO world heritage, perception, Konso