Many parts of Ethiopia are relatively safer when it comes to COVID-19, with the exception of the capital Addis Ababa, that the country is able to welcome tourists at safe and healthy destinations, according to a tourism researcher.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its part has decided to launch a tourism restarting campaign entitled: 'Tena-ysitilign,' Amharic greeting may be equivalent to "Health be up on you!" It is one of the most common and very welcoming greetings in Amharic that can be extended by anyone to anyone without discrimination.
Furthermore, Tena-yistilign is a heartwarming greeting like bowing at the waist that can be extended without any physical contact.
Foreign Affairs State Minister, Tsion Teklu told Sheger FM that COVID-19 has reset the tourism industry and World tourism Organization is implementing "restarting tourism" campaign. To reopen tourist destinations for tourists at this time, it needs World Trade Organization's safety stamp protocol.
According to Tsion, Ethiopia is working to get the safety protocol to reopen its destinations for tourists. She added that after securing the safety stamp protocol, parallel to World Tourism Organization's restarting tourism campaign, Ethiopia plans to launch Tena-yistilign campaign, to promote its tourism, which is non-handshaking traditional greeting of Ethiopians, wishing for good health.
Tsion noted that Tena-yistilign is non-touchable, a greeting of good wish for health and respective traditional greeting of Ethiopians.
Researcher in Tourism, Kalleab Belachew, said that investing in tourism promotion, until the reopening of destinations, is essential to inform travelers regarding "what we could offer to them". Kalleab added that Ethiopia's of COVID-19 situation is not worst as compared to other parts of the world, which lends great opportunity to promote its tourism.
Kalleab added that the pandemic's expansion in Ethiopia is mostly in Addis Ababa and other few major cities, mentioning that major tourist destinations in Ethiopia are found in remote areas and not that affected by the pandemic.
Yet, Kalleab said the reopening should be implemented step-by-step by evaluating the impacts. Until then investing in promotional activities is essential. He added that 'Tena-Yistilign' is Ethiopian traditional greeting without handshaking, both a greeting and good wish for a healthy life to everyone. Hence, Kalleab said, promoting Ethiopian Tourism with this traditional value and at this critical time of COVID-19 era may attract attention.
Recently, Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that Ethiopia is working to open its tourist destinations for both local and international travelers after a month.