Bahir Dar strives to be the next lake resort

Bahir Dar, Ethiopia – Amhara Region Administration hopes that its capital Bahir Dar can become another Sharm El Sheikh, the famous Egyptian resort city.

Over 287 private and public sector tourism related programs costing six billion birr are in the works, according to Mulugeta Seid, Amhara Region Culture, Tourism and Parks Development Bureau Head.

Bahir Dar is a base for tourists traveling in one of Ethiopia’s major tourist circuits in Amhara State, Mulugeta said.

A modern new convention center which can hold 2,500 people is being built along with a 65,000 seat stadium. Perhaps most striking is the planned floating hotel over Lake Tana.

According to the Regional Bureau Head, tourism has been steadily rising with over 110,000 foreign and 1.5 million domestic tourists visiting the region over the last nine months of this Ethiopian fiscal year. This is an increase of 20 percent for foreigners and 40 percent for domestic tourists respectively.

Tourism revenue stood at 300 million birr compared with 30 million birr ten years ago.

“Revenue is going up because there are more and nicer lodges, resorts, and hotels along with better infrastructure development like construction of asphalt roads. The region is also peaceful,” Mulugeta added.

Of the 1,000 hotels and restaurants in the region 100 of them are tourist class. The region is linked to Addis Ababa both by road and air transport.

Amhara Regional State covers 157,076 sqm which is 15 percent of the total land mass of the country. It is home to 17.4 million people. The region is also home to three of the nine Ethiopian world heritage sites which are the Castel of Fasiledas in Gonder, the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela, and Semien National Park. It has seven universities, 700 primary and secondary schools and over four million school children.

Source: Capital Ethiopia