HAWASSA: - South Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) has earned about 573 Million Birr from more than 1.3 million tourists who visited the state during the last nine months, according to the States Culture and Tourism Bureau.
Lemma Melese, Bureau vice Head and Tourism Sector Head with Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) State Culture and Tourism Bureau said that the region is discovering new tourist routs and it starts coffee tourism, visiting the process of coffee starting from collecting to the traditional coffee ceremony process to tourists.
Abuto Anito, Bureau Cultural Sector Vice head on his part said that the SNNPR is rich in cultures and traditions, as it is the home of 70 percent of the country's nations and nationalities. For this reason the region has a lot of cultural, traditional, historical, natural and manmade heritages and tourist relish places attractive for domestic and foreign tourists, he added.
Abuto said that some 324,000 foreign and more than 1.275 million domestic, totally more than 1.6 million tourists have visited the region in nine months of this fiscal year. He added that the region earned more than 573, 600,000 million birr from the sector.
Lemma said that from the 12 Ethiopian heritages registered in UNESCO, four of them are found within SNNP; the Tiyya Stone Monument, The unique Konso Landscape, The Omo Paleontological sight and the Sidama people New Year, Fiche Chambalala.
According to Lemma the number of domestic and foreign tourists is increasing from year to year in the region as tourist services like hotels, lodges are expanding. He added that bureau is working to develop tourist destination areas and protecting the heritages to attract more tourists. He added that the region gives attention to discover new tourist attraction places.
He added that in addition the region is rich in many beautiful lakes, natural dense forest areas like the Shaka and kaffa forests lay in 76,000 hectares and the Gedeo Landscape registered as tentative heritages of UNESCO. There are also 7 national parks with many wild animals, he added.
Abuto said that the UNESCO registered Sidama Nation New Year holiday, Fiche Chambalala will celebrate on June 12 and 13 in Hawassa with different activities. Sidama Culture prohibits people killing not only human beings but also animals and other living things during the celebration of Fiche Chambalala.
Tourism Road Map with the aim of tourist route guideline maps and tourist destination infrastructural development is drafted to ratify soon, Abuto stated.
Lemma said that the region was visited by some 1.9 million tourists and earned more than 735 million Birr in 2016/17 fiscal year from the sector.