Ethiopia Aims to Showcase its Touristic Potential

By developing its cultural wealth and promoting its natural beauty, Ethiopia aims to be one of the top five tourist destinations of Africa

July 01st, 2016
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With a growth reaching into the double digits, a huge territory and the second largest population in Africa, Ethiopia has many assets, one of which is the blooming tourist industry which is currently being pushed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

In 2013, the Minister of Culture and Tourism founded the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) to develop the tourism industry of the country. The objective of the ETO is to “transform the tourism sector in Ethiopia leaving no stone unturned to build a competitive and sustainable tourism sector”.

Ethiopia’s ambition is to become one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa by 2020 and to be placed in the top three by 2025. According to estimations, the tourism sector could bring the country 5 million tourists and 7 billion USD per year.

According to the World Bank, 770,000 tourists visited Ethiopia in 2014. While this figure is still far from that of the principle African tourist destinations (South Africa and Morocco receive approx. 10 million tourists per year) the number of tourists is steadily growing and has doubled since 2008.

However, Ethiopia is aiming for its tourist industry to be responsible and sustainable. In order to achieve that, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism created a “Tourism Code of Ethics” that includes a list of principles that the actors of the sector – both public and private – have to respect. This concerns the entirety of Ethiopian society. Salomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, notes, “Tourism is not necessarily being developed by just the government’s offices or by potential investors, it has to be developed by all the Ethiopians”.

The first results are already visible: in 2015 the European Council on tourism and trade, an organ of the European Union, named Ethiopia the best touristic destination. This distinction was given for the remarkable and diverse landscape of the country but most of all for its well-conserved historical cities, such as the capital Addis Abeba or Lalibela, which is named on the World Heritage Site list.


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Gaspard Fontaine, CD News