Prehistoric rock art is one of the earliest form of human communication system. It has an aesthetic, spiritual, socio – cultural and artistic values. This study has attempted to address the role of rock art tourism for sustainable socio-economic development with the objective of describing the potential of rock art sites for tourism in Harar – Dire Dawa and in its environs. It also tried to identify challenges facing the rock art sites; and examining trends of sustainable rock art tourism development and preparing a code of conducts for rock art and surrounding tour. Data analysis showed that rock art and its surrounding resources have a high potential for sustainable tourism development in the region. The study follows a mixed method of research design. The result also revealed that the main challenges facing rock art sites of the study area are natural and human factors that affect the values of the sites. Therefore, this important resource should be properly managed and promoted as to develop a significant tourist destination, and it also assists the socio –economic development of the region.
Key words: Rock art, tourism, cultural tourism, sustainable tourism.
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