The Ethiopian tourism industry reached into its record high growth collecting a revenue of 3.5 billion dollars in 2015 while the sector hires over 2 million people according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Though tourism is still at its infant stage even compared to African counterparts, it continues to register growth revealing its potential to develop further. Its development is often attributed to improvements in prioritizing the industry as one of the key sectors of the economy, better methods of promotion, increase in trained manpower and management capacity. Drawing its human resource from the young and skilful Ethiopian youth, tourism proved its value as the major component of the country’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment was 2,291,500 jobs in 2014 covering 8.5% of total employment. The industry is forecast to support 2,390,000 jobs, 6.7% of total employment in 2025, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report in 2015. Most of these jobs come from hotels, airlines, guest houses, pension, transportation services, travel agencies and tour operators. It also includes, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists. The lucrative industry has been growing at a faster rate at a global stage; more than the wider economy and other significant sectors such as automotive, financial services and health care.
Faster growth are enabling the sector’s success; the Ethiopian government emphasizes on the need for a tourism sector which is both eco-friendly and economically viable to generate sustainable revenue. It has also crafted a roadmap to grow the sector. Driven by such developments, international tourism sector giants such as Jumia Travel entered to the Ethiopian market to support the tourism sector through new technologies. To take advantage of the untapped tourism potential, the state is investing in key infrastructural sectors such as in transport, energy, water and telecommunications.
Although state monopoly policy has been attributed to Ethiopia’s economic advancement new economic initiatives focused on improving industries from the private sectors grab the attention of the government. Under the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), the government is marching on a major export initiative completed with an efficient import substitution strategy and growth of infrastructure. Tourism’s impact on Ethiopia’s economy and social development can be enormous. The country’s policy to invite more domestic and international investors on the sector has created more jobs and entrepreneurship for the skilled workforce.
Certainly, the potential role of tourism as an economic opportunity and development catalyst is fully recognized in the country, striving to develop strategic plans to advance the sector. An ever-increasing number of destinations worldwide have increased investment in tourism, turning it into a key driver of socio-economic progress through the creation of jobs and enterprises, export revenues and infrastructural development. Over the past six decades, tourism has experienced continued expansion and diversification, to become one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world, says the United Nations World Trade Organization’s (UNWTO).