Ethiopia: Transforming tourism via new destinations development

Ethiopia is blessed with abundant natural and manmade tourist attractions, including more than ten world heritage sites. Unfortunately, the nation has been generating low from the tourism sector due to various reasons.

Understanding nation’s tourism potential and to benefit the country at the desired level, since the past few years, the government has been working persistently giving due priority to sector’s development.

To this effect, it has been taking different measures to realize its objectives in the tourism sector. The measures that are being taken sought to stimulate the smokeless industry and create numerous job opportunities to youths and women. Accordingly, the development of new tourism destinations, introduction of new sector directives, various training opportunities to sector’s practitioners, among others helps promoting the country’s endeavors to utilize its abundant tourism potentials properly.

The travel and tourism sector in Ethiopia still contributes lower than other sectors to the country’s GDP, employment, investment etc. Considering its vast potentials, tourism has now become a featured component of Ethiopia’s poverty reduction and massive jobs creation strategy.

Needless to say that Ethiopia embraces more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other African countries. It prioritizes tapping the untapped tourism potentials through undertaking various incentives in the sector. Different travellers also express that Ethiopia is a hidden gem that is overlooked by many travellers. With such cultural diversity, archaeological pedigree and natural beauty, there is a good reason why it should be a preferable destination with international tourists travel list.

Last year, the Ethiopian government announced the development of new potential tourism destinations. Gorgora, Wonchi, and Koysha are the new tourism destination sites to be developed with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s ‘Dine for Ethiopia’ initiative.

According to the Prime Minister Office, the destinations have greater significance in terms of facilitating service economies and changing the look and feel of the country. “It takes a daring few to reach a tipping point in achieving a desired positive result”.

The Office of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with its newest development project, (‘Dine for Ethiopia’) has launched plan to develop three destinations with the aim to develop the already endowed tourist attractions of the sites, make them places of interest where visitors aspire to visit, and in so doing create sustainable job opportunities and gain the expected economic benefit for the surrounding communities.

The destinations are proposed based on their natural attractions, historical values and economic benefits for both local communities and visitors. Needless to say that historical places, old monasteries and churches have a great deal of untold accounts, and developing such sites can explain a lot.

Gorgora is one of the three sites that are projected to develop in the coming years. The site has a remarkable historic port town on the shores of Lake Tana, that bridging Gojam and Gonder, Amhara State. The site is also a fishing town and transit route for consumer goods. It is a hidden naturally paradise. The water is clean and deep. Former naval forces used train there. Its historic relevance and lakeshore scenic is a tourism magnet that can be maximized, thereby creating more jobs and developing the hospitality sector.

Koysha is the other destination. It is uniquely situated in the green hills, rolling plains and lush forests of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ State.

With the Koysha Hydropower plant in progress and the Chebera Churchura National Park in the near proximity, the new integrated eco project in Koysha aims to enhance existing endowments, create a hospitable service industry and jobs in the area.

Wenchi Crater Lake, the third spot, is a piece of paradise. This beautiful volcanic crater and lake is situated in Oromia State, South West Showa Zone, and 155 kilo meters west of Addis Ababa, between Ambo and Woliso towns. At 3,450 meters above sea level, the Lake is also the highest volcano in Ethiopia.

With a dream of volcanoes, hot springs and waterfalls that accentuate the abundant natural endowments, the area is graced with unseen attractions. Besides, the eminent places have significant ecological, recreational, and aesthetical values for both local communities and visitors. Wenchi’s capacity to draw more tourism, create sustainable jobs and descent wage for local communities residing around the area. An old monastery with a church that is positioned on one of the lake islands also make the spot more enticing and mesmerizing.

The new tourism destinations development project is undertaken through different finance mobilizations strategies to help the community reside around the destinations. Therefore, the new tourism destinations will play significant roles to change the lives of the rural community. In addition, millions could be lift out of poverty while new tourism destinations are developed. It also brought tangible contributions towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending poverty.

According to experts, Ethiopia aspires to attract more local and international tourists through initiating and developing artificial tourism destinations. Currently, it is developing the sites committedly by its own through utilizing its own resources, capital and expertise in a similar way it is constructing the Ethiopian Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The country’s experience could be taken as a great model for other African countries that aspire to ignite their socio-economic growth through harnessing their own tourism potentials by their own instead of relying on foreign assistances.



Leave a Reply