Exploring and putting on show Ethiopia's cultural, archaeological, historical and natural riches among other nature-bestowed attraction sites will highly accelerate the achievement of the country's chalked out development strategic plans and promote its several heritages.
As the nation consists of all heritages, visitors would be wonderstruck by the magnificent tourist sites. But compared to the number of world heritages and other wonderful sites, as it has been the origin of human kind, Ethiopia at this time is not utilizing the sector to the required level.
Not counting the Gada system recently registered, the country has nine UNESCO registered world heritages namely the Axum obelisk, the Rock-hewn Churches of King Lalibela, the Walled City of Harar, the Semen Mountains National Park, the Lower Omo valley, the Castle of Gondar, Konso Cultural Landscape, Lower Awash and Tiya Stelae. Others attractions pending registration are also potential sources of the country's smokeless industry. This is a source of pride for the country, the attractions could play matchless role in the country's economic transformation. If furnished with infrastructural facilities, they will be instrumental in the march to join the ranks of middle income nations. Their role in accelerating and ensuring the steady economic development of the nation weighs much indeed.
Yes, Ethiopia stands out for its touristic spots, outstanding natural heritages, dramatic landscapes and ancient cultures.
As a result, tourists influx has been increasing from year to year. Its fertile national parks, archaeological findings and the nine UNESCO world heritage sites are ascribed as additional allurements of the arrivals.
Thus, exploiting the tourism potential at maximum level would highly contribute to the country's GDP by generating millions of USD and creating millions of job opportunities to citizens. In fact, Ethiopia has set a goal to earn about one billion USD from the tourism sector during its GTP II Plan.
Above all, the government, with stakeholders, has a huge responsibility to develop and plan sound policies and strategies. Yes, it has been working with stakeholders like the Ethiopian Airlines and Tour Operators Associations. This disposition helps to harness the huge population size with diversified cultures, which makes it an ideal tourist destination.
What is more, to boost its foreign currency earning, the country has to use various instruments like researching, preserving, developing, and bringing to the attention of local and international tourists the country's broad-array of cultures and new tourist attractions. Hence, the government and stakeholders have to discharge their responsibilities. They have to accomplish their homework on making known nation's tourist attractions and developing tourist infrastructural facilities like standard hotels and related services.
Though Ethiopia has been engaged in promotion and development for long period of time, the tourism sector is still found at its embryonic stage in terms of income generating capacity. Lack of promotion and infrastructural had for long bogged down the role of tourism for national development. However, due to the government's and private investors active engagement, tourists' influx has greatly increased. But much duties remain to be done.
However, to attain goals of the GTP II programme and to contribute much to nation's GDP, the huge responsibility of assisting in poverty alleviation lays on citizen's shoulders. We have to re-branding so as to unlock and promote tourism potentials. But the major challenges like lack of awareness, leadership and lack of commitment should be given due emphasis so as to maximize the benefit.
Ethiopia, well-known as the 'Land of Origins' would outshine in the tourism sector and prove a backbone for development, if it places due attention on infrastructural development, quality hotels service provisions and deploy well-trained professionals in the sector.
Most importantly, our tourist sites should get integrated conservation approaches by implementing environmental protections and keeping the echo-systems intact. Parks must be guarded against both human and animal encroachments and the action of illegal hunters.
In sum, utilizing and ensuring sector's future economic development role is not a task that should be left alone to the government. It calls for stakeholders and the private sectors' backing. Continuous promotional duties and fulfilling destination areas' infrastructure and related service facilities must be made a point. Our ambassadors should make promotion a their top agenda.