Following the World Tourism day, Ethiopia celebrates Tourism Day in the warm Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. The day is celebrated for 28th times in Ethiopia and 36th times globally under the theme “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities.” The colorful occasion incorporated symposiums, music and cultural dances, fashion shows and beauty contests.
The event focused on creating awareness on the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is pursuing a number of tourism development strategies with the aim of pushing Ethiopia’s tourism sector forward. These strategies include rotating the site of national tourism celebrations among regional states to unify the tourism sector’s development targets. Ethiopia is eyeing to perk up its tourism sector to fully exploit its tourism potentialities and raise the revenue from the industry.
Currently, the tourism industry contributes a little over 4% to the GDP, a meager value of what the country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry aspires. Tourist arrivals in Africa increased by a staggering 300% between 1990 and 2012 according to the World Bank Group. In Ethiopia, the industry’s contribution to GDP was 4.2% in 2013 and it has rose by 4.5% in 2014 lagging far behind than the continent growth. However the figure is predicted to rise by 4.8% in 2024 creating a direct economic impact.
Ethiopia‘s tourism has created close to 100,000 jobs in 2013 contributing 3.8% to the total employment as reported by the 2014 World Travel and Tourism Council. This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services. It also comprises, the activities of the restaurants and other leisure industries. The industry is estimated to generate over one million employment in the coming decade.
Marketing strategies linking the sector with the broader development agenda has become the priority of government and investors. Taking its investment share from the technological revolution and opening its office in Addis Ababa, Jovago Africa’s leading online hotel booking site is working on promoting destinations. Jovago with over 20,000 hotels in its inventory aims to make Ethiopia embrace the advanced services of online booking by establishing a reliable global network.
“Ethiopia has become strong competitor in terms of developing the hotel industry and tourism sector” said Estelle Verdier, Managing Director of Jovago East and Southern Africa. Focus on promotion will bring the country a large chunk of revenue adding substantial value on its overall economy, she said.
The ministry has given enduring promise to promote several spectacular sights of the county and to develop tourism to reap the full advantage of the sector. To capture the demand of new and regular travelers, the country implemented tourism strategy and erected major infrastructures aspiring to be one of the top ten destinations in Africa.
By Eden Sahle