Using Geospatial Techniques in the Selection of Potential Ecotourism Sites in Menz-geramidir District, Ethiopia
Ecotourism is expressed as when tourists are attracted to a given geographic area (i.e. space) which has its own available natural, environmental, and socioeconomic resources by considering environmental sustainability, local benefit, and promotion. Space is an elementary part of ecotourism activities. Hence, the aim of this study is to identify potential ecotourism sites in Menz-geramidir district mainly by considering the natural features. Using weighting of each factor, three criteria and five-factor maps are identified, namely: landscape (land use land cover map), topography (elevation and slope map) and accessibility (road and river map). Those identified factor maps first ranked based on expert opinion, and then the weight of influence ofeach factor was computed by pair-wise comparison technique which is one of AHP method. The image classification was carried out in ERDAS imagine software using supervised image classification method. The image classification accuracy assessment indicates that the overall accuracy is 84% and the overall Kappa coefficient is 0.80. The final ecotourism potential sites model map was created based on the linear combination of factors with their respective weights in ArcGIS overlay extension and presented using FAO`s suitability scheme into four classes. The result showed that11% is highly suitable and lies to the eastern part of the study area. Generally,major suitable and moderately suitable area accounts for 75.6 % and marginally suitable area for 13.5 % and the not suitable area is 0.06 %. Therefore, this study shows that the district has high ecotourism potential which can contribute to the livelihood of the community through sustainable environmental development and protection.