The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has named Ethiopia’s Choke Mountains Ecovillage among the Best Tourism Villages 2022.
The Choke Mountains ecovillage is found in the West Gojjam Zone of the Amhara region.
The WTO, a specialized UN agency, described the ecovillage as the driving force for rural development by protecting cultural and natural resources, traditions and community-based values, tourism products, and lifestyles.
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The agency annually recognizes the best villages that are outstanding examples of rural tourism destinations.
The Choke Mountains Ecovillage made it to the list of Best Tourism Villages 2022 after it was evaluated by an independent advisory board based on nine criteria including tourism development and value chain Integration.
‘An ecotourism ideology’
The village is located in Ethiopia’s third highest Mt Choke – 300 km northwest of Addis Ababa.
The UN special agency says,
“This ecotourism village has developed sustainable land management and is promoting solar energy, biogas and waste management.
The local farming community in this village lives in harmony by adopting the ideology of Mulu ecovillage which promotes fair trade tourism, sustainable tourism development, sustainable culture and nature conservation.
Additionally, the village aims to establish a strong community-based tourism approach by coordinating and hosting regular community events.
The village people have the knowledge and equipment to produce a range of natural goods including honey, beer, medicinal herbs, vegetables, coffee, etc. for the locals, tourism providers, and visitors.”
The World Tourism Organisation also appreciates the community-based tourism practices in the village, and says,
“The village encourages the local inhabitants to take an active part in adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
It has promoted the ideology of Mulu Eco-Village by using local materials to transform the common land into multiple tourism sites.
The local inhabitants have shown a keen interest in hosting regular community events.
They act as tour guides and operate lodges whilst cultivating and producing a range of goods derived from both animal and plant sources including honey, beer, medical herbs, vegetables, and coffee.”
“A true game changer”
This year, 32 villages from 18 countries across the five world regions were awarded the ‘Best Tourism Villages’ recognition from 136 villages put forward for consideration.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said the recognition shows tourism’s role to boost economic activities for villages outside of big cities.
“For rural communities everywhere, tourism can be a true game changer in providing jobs, supporting local businesses, and keeping traditions alive,” he said.
“The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO showcase the power of the sector to drive economic diversification and create opportunities for all outside of big cities.”
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The Best villages will receive the Award in a Ceremony scheduled to take place in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, on 27-28 February 2023 back to back with the first presidential meeting of the WTO Network of Best Tourism Villages.