Ecotourism is a recently emerged concept described as an ecologically friendly, economically and socially viable form of tourism. Its aims are to conserve the environment and local culture, and to ensure the major beneficiary and participation of local communities. This research aims to analyze the determinants of community based ecotourism and its livelihood impact in local community. 213 sample households consisting 107 program and 106 non-program groups were randomly selected from 5 program and 5 counterfactual kebeles, respectively. Primary data were collected through questionnaires, interviews, field visits and focused group discussions. Results of the impact evaluation model (PSM) after eliminating the difference between the two groups revealed significant difference between program and non-program households in terms of total net household income and tourism service revenue. It can be concluded that the impact of the program intervention among participants have much influence on their livelihood. The result of logistic model regression on the factors influencing livelihood showed that the two were affected by the same set of variables except age and family size which positively affected income and productivity separately and respectively. Whereas, ownership of land and livestock, awareness and being concerned for natural resources and access to credit were found to increase net income significantly. Therefore, ecotourism program policy interventions should consider the aforementioned factors influencing households’ tourism income to create positive impact on the livelihood of farm households. The participation and collaboration of different ecotourism stakeholders is suggested to promote community based ecotourism program and its role in the area.
Key words: Ecotourism, livelihood, propensity score matching.
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