Windhoek — Enchanting tourist attractions, unique diplomatic stature and a thriving airliner have placed Ethiopia, Land of Origins, on top of the world when it comes to tourism growth. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC) annual review, the country saw the highest tourism growth in the world (48.6 percent), surpassing the global average growth rate of 3.9 percent and the African average of 5.6 percent.
During the period, the sector supported 2.2 million jobs and contributed US$7.4 billion to Ethiopia's economy, an increase of US$2.2bn on 2017.
The timeless charm of Ethiopia's natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions has been driving an influx of tourists from far and wide.
As the land where mankind, coffee and the Blue Nile trace their roots, Ethiopia has always been a fascinating destination for holidaymakers.
The country's UNESCO-registered heritages including the majestic obelisks of Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the fortified historic town of Harar, among others, have always remained tourist magnets, drawing visitors in droves. And add to this the magnificent scenery and the unique wildlife riches, some of which are found in the country only.
As the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing & Exhibitions (MICE) tourism blossoms around the world, Ethiopia is also uniquely positioned to reap the benefits, owing to its unique place in Africa's diplomatic landscape. Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa hosts African Union headquarters and the offices of UN-ECA among others. Addis is the toast of Africa, and welcomes diplomats and executives from across the continent and the rest of the world.
With its remarkable safety record and forward-looking infrastructure boom, today the city stands among the top capitals in the world, hosting major regional and global conferences.
As the main hub of the Pan-African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia also enjoys convenient air connectivity with multiple destinations in Africa and the rest of the world, making travel to the country easier than ever before.
The connectivity options the airline offers to travellers has made Ethiopia ever more accessible to the whole world, and has facilitated the influx of tourists.
The airline's catalyst role has never been more impactful, especially in promoting tourism, as alluded to by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council concerning the exceptional growth of Ethiopia's tourism.
"Ethiopia's Travel & Tourism boom was one of the great success stories of 2018. It has exceeded our sector's global and regional comparisons to record the highest level of growth of any country in 2018," Guevara notes.