Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Â - The Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that it is engaged in extensive promotional activities aimed at realizing the vision of â€œmaking Ethiopia one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa by 2020.
In an exclusive interview with ENA on Thursday, Public and International Relations Director with the Ministry Awoke Tenaw, said the Ministry is currently promoting actively the countryâ€™s rich and precious heritages and natural tourist attractions in nine countries in the world as part of the massive effort well underway to enable Ethiopia attain its vision.
He said his ministry, through the involvement of regional tourist offices and private tour operators, has been advertising, the nine heritages registered as world heritage centers and other famous attractions sites in trade fairs, and other events being held in different countries.
Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Italy and Russia are among the countries where the nationâ€™s major magnificent and spectacular tourist sites are being advertised widely, according to Awoke.
On the other hand, both the government and private sector have been heavily engaged in the development of tourism industry.
Awoke said the government is constructing new infrastructures and expanding existing ones within tourist sites in the country.
Some gravel roads linking highways with attraction sites have been upgraded to asphalt level while several airport terminals have been built around major tourist sites.
The private sector has also been constructing standard hotels, lounges, restaurants and other facilities, he said, adding that the number of standard hotels in the country has now reached above 425.
The construction and expansion of infrastructures in most attraction sites, the rise in the number of tourist facilities, the existence of abundant heritages and of spectacular natural tourist sites and the prevalence of peace and security are the major factors for the rise in the number of foreign tourists coming to the country.
According to Awoke, the stated factors, along the extensive promotional works undertaken in different corners of the world, have enabled to lure a significant number of foreign tourists thereby raise the amount of revenue being obtained from the sector during the reported period.
As a result, the foreign exchange earning Ethiopia obtains from foreign tourist inflow has showed an accelerated growth over the last couple of years. The amount of foreign currency the country secures from visiting foreign tourists has jumped up from only 169 million US dollars in 2006 to over 333.35 million US dollars in 2010.
He said foreign tourist arrivals which were only 330,000 in 2006 have showed a marked growth in 2010 reaching 468,300.
Ethiopia has also envisaged to obtain 773. 5 million US dollars in 2004 Ethiopian fiscal year.
The amount is predicted to be secured from an estimated 700,000 foreign tourists who are anticipated to visit the country during the stated period, according to the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).
Ethiopia has different heritages including the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Fasil Ghebbi, Axum obelisques, Tiya monolithic grave marks, the walled City of Harar and other beautiful natural resources.