Sustainable Tourism – an opponent for climate change?

February 29, 2016

Ethiopia has been making headlines for a variety of reasons recently. The country continues to feature as a top ‘hidden gem’ of a travel destination, but also as one of the many countries suffering the terrible effects of abnormal weather patterns (El Nino and climate change), causing flood and drought damage across the world. Such articles convey polar opposite images and forecasts for the year ahead.

In Ethiopia, 80-85% of the population engage in agriculture (mainly in subsistence and rain-fed farming and livestock production), often without access to irrigation. Their livelihoods tend to depend on the assets they have – cows, donkeys, goats, chickens – and the weather patterns remaining consistent to ensure crops thrive.


Due to the latter having been anything but consistent over the past year, the current drought is forecast as Ethiopia’s worst in 50 years. 

Fortunately for the communities of the Simien Mountains, the changing weather patterns haven’t yet affected them, with their crops growing as expected. Pockets of the Simien Mountains are among the poorest spots in Ethiopia though, and slight changes to weather patterns have a huge knock on effect on households’ food production, their income generation and their access to clean and safe water.

Over the past few months, the Ethiopian Government and global funding community have made great strides to work together to safeguard the worst affected areas of Ethiopia, and a great deal of support is making its way to where it’s needed most. But there’s still a lot to do, and a question that remains for businesses like Limalimo Lodge - a business with both feet firmly planted within the community - is what can we be doing to help?


At Limalimo Lodge, we’re continuing to focus our attention on the impact we can have by introducing sustainable tourism to support alternative livelihoods, and maintaining the flow of visitors to this fascinating country. The community has always been part of our business plan:

  • Employing local staff increases employment rates and direct sustainable income to households
  • Taking guests to Limalimo village where they can buy produce directly from the producer generates income
  • Arranging treks for guests, facilitated by local guides, chefs and mule men offers strong employment prospects
  • Paying $10 per person per night to local conservation projects will open up a wealth of opportunities for the community

By making such opportunities available, we’re showing an alternative way of making a life from the land.

While many of us hate to admit it, having cash does make the world go round. 100 Birr (c.$5) in the hands of the people of the Simien Mountains means they can feed their family, pay for medicines, pay for school fees...

And we believe that there’s a role that all of us can play in this - by taking the less trodden paths and visiting the less frequented areas, tourism provides a strong injection of cash into regions that need it. It increases the number of jobs available within people’s home communities, potentially preventing them from migrating to larger towns to seek work.

We know that this isn’t a complete solution to the effect that El Nino and climate change are having on Ethiopia, but for Limalimo Lodge, this is our contribution to the community we’re part of, and one that we see as having some tangible impact on household stability and income for generations to come.

There are a growing number of sustainable tourism initiatives in Ethiopia - including Village Ways who have just begun tours in the Simiens, and Tesfa ToursWe’d encourage you to look for such initiatives when booking your adventure in Ethiopia




Other posts

March 09, 2017

Building conservation into the bottom line
June 20, 2016

Welcoming Village Ways to the Simien Mountains
April 08, 2016

Sustainable Tourism – an opponent for climate change?
February 29, 2016

Starting the Year with Rachael’s Review
January 21, 2016

Happy Christmas from the Limalimo Team
December 24, 2015

Training in the Mountains
November 26, 2015

Our Kit List for the Simien Mountains
October 30, 2015

Interviewing Julia Bleasdale
September 18, 2015

Assessing the impact of Limalimo Lodge
August 18, 2015

Simien Mountains in the Clouds
July 17, 2015

Trekking highlights in the Simien Mountains National Park
June 22, 2015

Working with Artisans at Limalimo Lodge
May 05, 2015

Ramming Earth: A Guest Blog from Rowland Keable
April 16, 2015

Celebrating our Women
March 30, 2015

Rocket stove!
March 23, 2015

One for the Food Lovers
February 24, 2015

Thanks Tyler!
February 22, 2015

Send a postcard
January 20, 2015

December 02, 2014

Vroom vroom!
November 07, 2014

Digger, digger!
October 13, 2014

As the rains end...
September 18, 2014

Sourcing water
June 17, 2014