We care where we take you!

Boundless Ethiopia Tours is organizing tours based on the principles of responsible and sustainable tourism. To put it short, respect for the local community and environment is paramount. The local economy has to benefit from your visit. The negative impact of tourism has to be addressed. This is easier said than done and it requires commitment from everybody involved: tour operators, local communities, (local) government, and the tourists. Only together we can keep tourism development healthy.

Responsible Travel Tips

We provide our Responsible Travel Tips to all our clients to give guidelines about what we at Boundless find important to know about traveling in Ethiopia and the social, economic, and environmental impact of your visit. Most common sense but better said once too often.

This is what we are talking about

As in so many countries, responsible and sustainable tourism in Ethiopia has a long way to go and a lot of damage has been done. But good things happen as well! Some examples.

‘Pay per click’

Short-term interest with some tour operators and local communities in the south created a ‘pay per click’ atmosphere. Tourists are often too eager just to click away without any interaction. Tourists and local people get annoyed by each other’s behavior but the core issue is not addressed. The language barrier surely adds to this. If we are not able to organize tourism in a more equal and respectful way, together we will destroy a bright future.

But we see changes, some communities are accepting an all-inclusive entrance fee to their village. Tourists enjoy the hospitality of the people and learn about their culture. Eventually, you are making some nice pictures to take home. Without the hassle of a following crowd, all hope to be the ones chosen for the picture. More local guides are available to give information about their culture. Their language skills are sometimes limited, but it is a good start.

Everything for the picture?

Wherever you go in Ethiopia you might be witness to a special religious or cultural celebration. Too often tourists don’t realize (or maybe don’t care?) how special it is to be a guest for the occasion and be part of a very important moment in the lives of the local participants.

Be it at Timket, Meskel, or a ‘Bulljump’, to name some, it is sad to see how some tourists behave to get the best picture. What impression are they leaving behind and how will local people deal with future visitors? (Local) guides gain more confidence nowadays and dare to speak up, but still, they fear to address directly. They think they might offend the tourist and might fear losing their tips.

Please don’t spoil the children!

Confrontation with poverty brings tourists to dish out cash and gifts to individuals, especially children. The result is children staying away from school or neglecting their duty, for example, to take care of the cattle, and start begging. Tourists are followed everywhere they go, hoping they will give.

Children are risking their lives running along cars with tourists hoping a water bottle, pen, or money is thrown out of the window. They act like this because there are tourists who behave like this. Local culture learns children to respect and obey any adult, but the behavior of tourists left them with disrespect for them.

Schools in tourist areas are addressing this issue. Often local adults are correcting the children in their approach to tourists. Please help them and don’t give anything to children. Instead, if you want to leave something, give a donation to a school, orphanage, or other organization. Boundless can give suggestions and we are happy to assist in buying supplies, locally often hard to get, in Addis Ababa and deliver them on a next tour.

Community Tourism Projects

Ethiopia is a big country with many highlights, it is understandable tourism is focusing on these highlights. The good thing is that most tourism businesses in Ethiopia are locally owned but the economic benefit is still very concentrated. Community tourism projects bring tourists to areas away from the highlights and make the local community benefit more from tourism but they are few and far between. Whenever possible we include such projects in our tours.

Go local!

Another way to support the local economy is to eat in local restaurants and buy in local shops. Make a regular stop on the long journeys in between the highlights. Have a delicious ‘buna’ (coffee), ‘shai’ (tea), or ‘ambo’ (sparkling mineral water). Buy additional supplies like mineral water or cookies. If lunch is available go for it. Don’t bring everything from your hotel. It is surprising to see how welcome you are and not only for bringing the money.

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