8 May 2018

Ethiopia: A Bird's Eye View On Bishoftu's Tourism

Photo: Balikiman/Wikimedia Commons
Lake Hora, one of five crater lakes in Bishoftu.

The splendid gardens flowers and busy activities of the florists in an entrance to the city capture newcomers ' strong interest . This magnificent scene involves a number of youths and stretches about three km into the city.

Apart from the attractive several international and standardized hotels, when someone sets his/her foot on the city's soil ,he/she will also be stunned by the city's building boom and cleanness.

This city is Bishoftu located in Oromia State, about 47 km from Addis Ababa to the East. The city is well known for its lakes and resorts with spectacular nature. That is why the city is among the country's tourist destinations preferred by tourists both from abroad and locals. Moreover, Its proximity to Addis has also given additional advantage for Addis Ababa residents to pass their weekend and special days there.

According to the City's Culture and Tourism Bureau , there are about eight lakes that most of them are Crater Lakes with artificial ones that are in accompany with nearly 70 standardized hotels, resorts and lodges including the five star hotels . Such tourism infrastructure offer tourists to partake widely in outdoor pursuits like water sports, boat recreation and many other endeavors.

Bishoftu City Administration Bureau of Culture and Tourism Acting Director who is also Senior Expert in Tourism Extension Bekele Tefera, said as a result of the aforementioned and other tourism potentials of the city, hundred thousands of tourists visit the city annually.

He noted that during the last nine months, 248,238 tourists ,of which 51,000 of them are foreigners , visited the city and close to 200 million Birr revenue had been earned.

"Bishoftu's vision is to be among the top tourist destinations of Africa and for that hosting a number of investors will tap tourism opportunities in the city."

Bekele said due to the every increasing number of tourists to the city, the existing hotels and resorts are not capable enough in serving the tourists. "Fore instance,only for the annual celebration of 'Irrecha' about four to six million people come to Bishoftu and spend three days there on average ."

He, therefore, said the city has been making ready vast suitable areas for building more hotels and resorts on the top of dismantling the bureaucratic red tape for investors.

Taking the opportunity, Bekele also called on the pertinent body to open the palace of king Haile Selassie I to the public and tourists as it has so many historical memories. The palace is situated at the Hora lake .

While visiting the city and reporting, this journalist came across to Lake Chleleka which currently is at risk of drying up. There has been a large irrigation project using the waters of the lake for decades. Moreover, herds of cattle are also grazing swampy areas of the lake with no prevention. The major parts of the lake have been also filled by sediment deposit.

The Acting Director said it is beyond the city's capacity, it requires huge budget and expertise research to restore and recover the lake . " We,thus, urged the State Culture and tourism Bureau to take urgent action to restore the lake .

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