Addis Ababa — Ethiopia needs to promote itself more to the rest of the world to efficiently exploit its untapped potential of tourism sector, foreign tourists advised.
Ethiopian Orthodox Church followers colorfully celebrated Demera the annual bonfire lighting ceremony on the eve of Meskel to commemorate the finding of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
Hundreds of thousands of residents of the capital including foreign tourists have attended the festival held on Sunday in the capital Addis Ababa.
On the occasion, some tourists approached by the Ethiopian News Agency said that they are impressed by the joy among Ethiopians and rich traditions of the nation demonstrated in the festival.
The tourists describe Demera as an amazing and colorful event that demonstrates the religious and cultural heritages of Ethiopia.
John Hunter, from the US, New York City, said the world need to know Ethiopia's potential of tourist attractions like this one.
He had traveled across Ethiopia and visited various parts of the country including ancient town of Gonder.
"We have seen some incredible scenery and landscape, beautiful cities and villages and towns. There are also various sites interesting to tourists and there are UNESCO heritage sites and it is very important to preserve these heritages and sites."
Since some tourist sites were damaged during the Second World War, he said adding that efforts must be done by the pertinent body to restore these ancient historical heritages.
The American tourist has recommended that Ethiopians need to appreciate and proud of their remarkable heritages and give the appropriate attentions to preserve them well.
A Nigerian tourist Ikechi Uko on his part said that for most of people across the world, Ethiopia is a mystery, there are many who don't know about this ancient and amazing country.
According to him, the country should intensify efforts to promote the tourism sector of Ethiopia to the rest of the world so as to help others know the country better which is important in many aspects of national development.
In this regard big festivals such as Meskel will help others to know about the culture, history and religion heritages of the country, he added.
This is very rich culture and something that I recommend people to come and see Ethiopia, he said. .
"For me as an African, Ethiopia is the country that held African tradition for very long time. It has not been diluted by European culture. It is still true African tradition as it has always been for hundreds of years. So Ethiopia is an opportunity for African to come together and discover our past."
Alkuamen Oswa is also from Nigeria who visited Ethiopia for three times and she said Ethiopia is a big destination with potential tourism market to the outside world, not just in Africa but to Europe, Asian countries and even to Americans.
"Ethiopian Airlines is doing so much to promote Ethiopia as a country and African continent in general. So I think such activities would definitely bring together a lot of people if you do more in promoting such festival. I can see around not only Ethiopians, I can see people from Europe and other parts of Africa and beyond. So we can have more people come for such celebration, if you do more promotion."
Some research documents indicate that Ethiopia is one of the few countries highly endowed with natural and historical tourism resources. However, large parts of Ethiopia's tourism resources are not yet being visited by tourists as they should be.