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Ethiopia: Ethiopia Tourism Profile


 Red Hot poker, Simien Mountains

Participation in international tourism-and-trade fairs boosts arrivals

Ethiopia continued to record positive increase in tourist arrivals over the review period. The country completed larger tourist numbers in 2012 than in 2011 thanks to increased participation in international travel and tourism exhibitions. Showcasing the country’s tourism products globally has enabled Ethiopia to promote its natural, cultural and historical attractions to the rest of the world. This has helped the country to attract additional international tourists and as well generated additional travel and tourism revenue. Some of the notable international tourism and trade fairs Ethiopia has participated in recent years include the ITB, Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin, the World Travel Market in London, the Moscow International Tourism equitable and the Shanghai 2010 Expo.

Government embarks on measures to preserve tourist sites

Ethiopia has rich tourism assets. With its diverse tourist attractions, which include cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, inclunding a great variety of flora and fauna, the government of Ethiopia has initiated a number of measures to preserve and develop tourist sites throughout the country. Tourist infrastructures in various national parks have been upgraded, while renovation work on roads linking the parks with major roads and lodges is being carried out. Other measures include the protection of animals from illegal hunting in sanctuaries and parks, inclunding the conservation of heritage sites, nine of which are included on the UNESCO World Heritage Inventory. Through these activities, Ethiopia has seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting its a lot of attractions.

Ethiopian Airlines a major driving force for travel and tourism growth

Ethiopian Airlines remains a key driving force for the sustainable development of travel and tourism in Ethiopia. The national carrier continues to engage in several tourism activities to help solve the problem of destination accessibility, which is a vital concern in emerging tourist destinations. Apart from introducing new flights to major cities around the world, Africa’s most profitable carrier as well helps make it possible for Ethiopian tour operators to participate in different international travel expos, to promote the attractions of the country. It recently launched a programme to encourage tourism by partnering with journalists and tour operators to help promote tourist attractions in Ethiopia. The airline as well signed a Memorandum of Considerate with a number of African nations, which resulted in a dynamic increase in tourist flows to and from the region, as a result of promotion and advertising agreements.

Upgrade and modernisation of major airports’ infrastructure

Ethiopia is investing in the modernisation and expansion of major airports in the country in a bid to satisfy international standards, inclunding provide world-class services for business and leisure travellers. The major project of all is at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, where the runway is being expanded to handle larger aircraft. In addition, self-service check-in kiosks were recently introduced to help simplify the check-in process for passengers and, thus, help relieve congestion during peak hours. Once upgrade work at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is completed in late 2013, the airport will boost the travel experience for customers inclunding strengthen Addis Ababa as a leading hub in Africa.

Promising next due to increasing request for exotic destinations

There is a growing trend towards additional exotic destinations, as a lot of tourists are becoming additional adventurous and are looking for additional off-beat and far-flung destinations. Ethiopia is considered an exotic holiday destination due to its magnificent scenery and cultural heritage, which will continue to make the country a beautiful and exotic destination for tourists. The country will benefit in terms of increased arrivals over the estimate period as the increased request for exotic travel destinations will provide huge potential for sustainable increase and development within travel and tourism.

Despite its potential, Ethiopia remains a ‘difficult’ destination for travellers

Ethiopia’s travel and tourism market has enormous potential. The country not only offers the usual African game and cultural experiences to visitors, but as well a rich array of historical and ecological sites that set it apart from most of its neighbours. Nevertheless, despite its huge potential, the travel and tourism market has hereafter to develop to a point where it can make a significant contribution to Ethiopia’s economic development. While tourist numbers are rising, increase in arrivals and tourism spending are by no means commensurate with the potential of the country’s attractions. A major constraint to the development of travel and tourism is the continuing negative perception of Ethiopia in the world community. Limited promotion and inadequate tourism infrastructure as well present major challenges to development. Nevertheless, the Ethiopian government is becoming increasingly active in its efforts to develop the untapped resource of travel and tourism in the country.

Tourists are drawn to Ethiopia’s rich cultural and historical heritage

Tourist arrivals to Ethiopia grew by a total of 50% over 2003-2008. This impressive increase can be attributed to the socio-economic development and democratic processes that have taken place in the country over the completed decade or so. Nevertheless, the majority significant reason cited by tourists for visiting the country is still its rich cultural and historical heritage. Ethiopia has a long and proud history that extends back to the known beginnings of humankind. For leisure tourists, the major attractions are Ethiopia’s incomparable culture and history, its magnificent scenery and archaeological sites, and the country’s diverse and exotic flora and fauna. Growing appreciation for these attributes continued to fuel request for the ‘Ethiopian experience’ part overseas visitors in 2008. The government has officially recognised the price of these national resources and taken steps to preserve them, such as with the setting up of the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Project.

Ecotourism holds massive development potential in Ethiopia

Ecotourism is still in its infancy in Ethiopia, but it holds significant potential for increase. The country’s biodiversity is completely incomparable compared to neighbouring nations, some of which are famous safari destinations. Ethiopia’s Protected Sector(PA), which includes national parks, game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and controlled hunting grounds, covers about 14% of the country. The protected areas offer ecotourism and leisure activities such as wildlife viewing, trekking, mountaineering and bird watching. Ethiopia’s rich biodiversity is nevertheless under threat from communities who have access to these protected areas and who, through settlement, agriculture or livestock grazing, have damaged the natural habitats. In recognition of the deteriorating national of the PAs and the consequences of this trend, during the review period the government formed new policies and introduced legislation that is additional supportive to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of Ethiopia’s natural resources.

Air travel continues to dominate the transportation sector

Transportation remained the major sector in Ethiopia’s travel and tourism market in current price sales terms throughout the review period. Transportation current price sales continued to grow strongly in 2008 thanks to the positive performance of air travel, which dominates the sector and is the means by which the vast majority of tourists arrive in Ethiopia. Part the major airlines which serve the country are Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates Airline, South African Airways and Kenya Airways. Ethiopian Airlines is the national flag carrier and as well market leader in price terms. In 2005, the airline initiated its Vision 2020 programme, which aims to increase annual passenger traffic to three million and annual revenues to US$1 billion by 2010. Ethiopian Airlines appears to be within reach of this goal, having transported 2.5 million passengers and generated revenues of US$900 million with a net profit of US$56 million for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

Future looks bright for Cultural, historical and religious tourism in Ethiopia

Cultural or heritage tourism looks set to become an increasingly significant revenue generator in Ethiopia over the estimate period. At the end of 2008, the development of cultural tourism products and attractions was ongoing in several destinations across the country. Moreover, cultural tourism is becoming increasingly diverse, with the development of niche areas such as religious tourism, architecture tourism, literary tourism and creative tourism. Although it is not a new concept, religious tourism is instantly being recognised as having a major overlap with cultural tourism. This is particularly pertinent to Ethiopia, where people travelling for religious motives, inclunding pilgrims, as well have a strong interest in the country’s culture and heritage. While Ethiopia will always have a strong religious appeal, new products such as spiritual and ‘retreat’ holidays should help to strengthen and accelerate the development of cultural tourism towards 2013.