BY TEWODROS KASSA
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organizations (UNWTO), natural tourist attractions play a significant role in attracting numerous tourists to the destination. Tourism is also one of the driving forces of global economic growth and currently provides for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. By giving access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society; particularly youth and women can benefit from increased skills and professional development. As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation.
Sustainable tourism development and its impact at community level can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, and empowering less favored groups, particularly youth and women. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) tweeted: “We have a great country. If we open our eyes, there are many places that can be attractive to the world.”
The Prime Minister added: “Let’s explore and examine our surroundings. Let us turn the outlook of ‘mine resources’ into ‘our collective wealth.’ Let us work hard together; develop and prosper” Therefore, more assignment are left ahead to fully tap the untapped tourism potentials of the country. The private investors are expected to turn their eyes into the tourism sector and invest more in the unique tourist destinations of the country to attract more local and international tourists.
The tourism sector has generated a tangible revenue despite challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict in the northern part of the country in the past two years. The sector is recovering following the peace agreement signed between the government and TPLF and rehabilitation measures being undertaken by the government. Recently, the Addis Ababa City Administration announced that it earned better revenue in the past six months of the 2022/23 fiscal year through attracting over half million tourists. The indicated number of tourists’ inflow helped to earn over two billion USD during the indicated period.
Moreover, the contribution of the domestic tourism is also growing from time to time following the incentives given to the sector. Thus, the country managed to generate more than 44 billion Birr from domestic tourism in the last six months. While presenting the 6 months job performance report of the Administration at City Council’s regular session last week, Mayor of Addis Ababa Adanech Abiebie said that Addis Ababa has managed to generate 257, 575, 344 million USD from foreign tourists who visited the capital during the first half of the Ethiopian fiscal year.
According to the Mayor, 1,224,000 foreign tourists have visited Addis Ababa during the stated period. In her report, the Mayor also indicated that the City Administration has undertaken successful activities in fully implementing the digital identification system. The Mayor further disclosed that the City Administration has created permanent jobs for 246,999 residents and benefited more than 37,000 residents from temporary jobs during the first half of the Ethiopian budget year.
What is more, the country is expected to lead the sector with professionals, closely work with pertinent stakeholders, and promote its diverse tourism endowments to attract more international tourists. In this regard, the active engagements and collaboration with regional and international institutions based in Addis Ababa will have significant roles towards bringing new insights to the country’s tourism development. Establishing such cooperation with numerous regional and international organizations will enable the country to boost its presence in the tourists’ top priority list for travel.
Accordingly, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) stated that it is cooperating with Ethiopia in many ways and especially supporting the country to diversify its rich tourism sector. ECA East Africa Director, Mama Keta told local media that ECA is cooperating with Ethiopia in many ways and especially it is supporting the country to develop and diversify its rich tourism sector.
This continued support for Ethiopia in tourism development and diversification is part of ECA’s cooperation and supports to the country in many ways. According to her, the second most populous country in Africa, with a big economy, immense potential in many sectors, and especially tourism for her office is critical point of cooperation and support to facilitating trade and regional economic integration.
“ECA works very well with Ethiopia. Ethiopia is key for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and for Africa as a whole. The size of the economy is big and in terms of population also it is very big. It has also some great skills. So, ECA supports Ethiopia in so many things,” Mama Keta said. The Director pointed out that her office is particularly working with the government of Ethiopia to unlock and diversify the enormous tourism potential of Ethiopia. “From my office, for instance, we supported the country, and we are still supporting the country to diversify its tourism sector,” she reiterated.
“For a country that is not very rich in natural resources and that is rich in historical sites and heritage, tourism is a critical and extremely important sector. So we are, for instance, supporting Ethiopia right now, to further develop the tourism sector to improve the statistics in order to be able to plan well, and to measure the results that are being done. So this is just one example where ECA is supporting Ethiopia but in many other sectors really collaboration is going on.” Accordingly, Ethiopia is bestowed with massive tangible and intangible heritages and its natural and artificial tourism destinations have been expanding and diversifying, increasing earnings.
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD FRIDAY 24 MARCH 2023