“Ethiopia” a country that is rich in culture and history and, is trying to improve on its potential as a major tourism attraction in the years to come.
Tourism is an important economic activity for developed and developing countries all over the world and has taken a huge lead in increasingits market share
Since this lucrative industry can pump in foreign currency, Ethiopia too is trying its best to take a large chunk of it and use it to develop their region. As per statistics, the year 2015 saw close to 800,000 tourists visiting Ethiopia with the number set to grow to 1 million by the end of 2016. It will bring in a revenue of USD 3 Billion if these figures are reached.
Tourism Potential of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is aware of its tourism potential and this can become a huge economic opportunity and act as a catalyst to push development to the next level. It has put in place strategic plans to ensure the right steps are taken in the right direction. It is investing in vital infrastructural projects like telecommunications, water, transport and energy to give tourism a fillip for growth.
Ethiopia and Tourism go back a long way into history as far as the 4th Century, where Ethiopia was ranked along with China, Rome and Persia in terms of prosperity. With the formation of The Ethiopian Tourist Organization in 1961, tourism was looked at in a structured manner. Presently, travel & tourism contributes 1.2% to Ethiopia’s GDP and is expected to zoom to 4.8 % by 2024. Since tourist flow has been burgeoning year on year, Ministry of Culture & Tourism (MoCT) has developed a plan to increase tourist figures to 2.5 million by 2020.
Impact of tourism on socio-economic front
The upsurge of Travel & Tourism in any country has a direct impact on the social and economic development of the country and the region as a whole.
· It opens up opportunities for business and trade
· Encourages Capital Investment
· Creates Job opportunities
· Promotes economic development
· Boosts the protection of heritage sites
Ethiopia is lucky to have been blessed with a vast natural landscape, untapped natural resources, and political stability which are factors that are working in their favour. The Government too is working towards improving infrastructural facilities as with the boom in tourist influx, the demand to have better facilities will also grow.
The Government’s focus on the heavy hotel construction has given further confidence to this industry that it is being looked at as a potential money spinner. The hotel industry, is an important offshoot of the T&T business and is set to become a huge job provider to the competitive labour force and become a stable job provider.
There are eleven world heritage sites in Ethiopia that have been recognized by UNESCO which includes the most recent Konso Cultural Landscapes. With the Meskel Demera Festivities and Fiche-Chambelala (Sidama New Year) approaching, the tourist numbers are set to zoom up significantly.
Ethiopia has taken its role of a holiday destination pretty seriously and is all set to become one of the top five tourist destinations of Africa in quick time.