Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – (WIC) – The Oromia State Culture and Tourism Bureau said it has raked over 46 million birr income from tourism during the last 9 months.

Bureau Deputy Officer, Shelemo Emana, told WIC the income was earned from 516,173 domestic and foreign tourists who visited tourist destinations in 18 zones of the state.

He said the income garnered in the reported period has shown a significant increase compared to the 28 million birr secured at the same period the previous Ethiopian fiscal year.

As Shelemo indicated, the rift valley tourist destinations are among the most frequently visited sites as they have well equipped tourist-oriented infrastructure facilities.

Currently several works are on to get registered  Sof Omar Cave, Dire Sheik Hussien Mosque and Bale mountain park as global heritage by UNESCO, Shelemo said. In addition much has been done to promote Oromia’s tourist attraction to the world.

Moreover, Shelemo explained a project of transforming Melka Kunture into a full fledged archeological research center is currently undertaken at a cost of 20 million birr. Upon completion, the site is believed to attract several scholars and tourists, he added.

Shelemo indicated that the tourism sector is creating job opportunities for several unemployed youth by allowing them to engage in transportation, hotel service, tour guiding and selling cultural souvenir, among others.

Citing Illu Ababora`s  Sora falls and Wenchi crater lake as an example, Shelemo said lack of standardized hotels and roads in some sites has been hindering tourist flows. To this end, the bureau is encouraging local investors to engage in hotel and tourist investment.

The office is currently performing several promotional and facilitation works that enhance the tourism activity in the region to the level which it helps the growth of the national economy, Shelemo said.

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