The tourism industry in Ethiopia although it has transformed tremendously with massive infrastructure development and new investments for the past few weeks, it still at its infant stage with so much to improve and develop to host its long awaited 2.5 million foreign visitors.
The current underdeveloped performance is often related to polices, weak promotion, lack of trained manpower, limited budget and knowledge and management capacity. Although tourism has been a globally recognized economic factor that is expanding all over the world, developing countries such as Ethiopia are catching up with the growing pace crafting new strategies. The market share of tourism in developing countries is also increasing significantly and developing countries now account for two-thirds of long distance destinations according to the World Bank Group.
Tourism in Ethiopia currently generates about US$2.9 billion annually, close to a million jobs and about 4.5% of GDP. The country is also working to significantly increase the number of tourists during its 2nd Growth and Transformation Plan which lasts until 2020. On the same year the Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to triple foreign tourists to more than 2.5 million. This would make Ethiopia one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa hosting travellers from all over the world. To achieve this ambitious plan the country crafted polices to improve and maintain natural and cultural heritages as well as research and technology systems to fully take advantage of the tourism sector.
Ethiopia has made a history, trying to shift the gear of its economy to industry and tourism; the two sectors are untapped. The country’s huge potential for tourism comes from its ancient historical remains, culture, and stunning natural sights which continue to attract big investments from the world’s acclaimed brands. Ethiopia recently had the milestone on the tourism sector giving attention to the neglected industry the 2017 hospitality report from Jumia Travel revealed. The Ethiopian economy continues to enjoy remarkable growth, and the hospitality sector is poised to continue on its impressive trajectory over the medium term in the wake of increased number of inbound travellers, and growing awareness on what the country has to offer. The growth of conference tourism in Ethiopia also help Ethiopia to increase its number of visitors. Although the number is still less when compared to leisure travellers. To date most travellers to Ethiopia came for leisure as most of the sector cash flow 84.4% comes from leisure spending while the rest of 15.6% is from business spending.
This entire heritage and the associated potential for tourism are at the centre of Ethiopia’s plan to quadruple the number of foreign visitors in the coming four years. The increase in the number of travellers will create huge demand for infrastructure development which the country is gripping on to develop infrastructure in every sector. The country plan of integrated development initiative is to support the country overall economic development strategy to become middle income country in the coming five years as well as being the major investment hub in Africa.