By Leulseged Worku
The smokeless industry in general and culture tourism in particular are exhibiting an upward spiral in the country. This could be gauged or figured out from the various fruitful strides being made in the sector.
The number of tourists that are coming to see firsthand the majestic natural wonders Ethiopia is blessed with like the Blue Nile fall, the live volcano of Eretale and Sof Omer cave as well as the man made tourist attraction sites, about whose architectural grandeur the country boasts of ,like the Aksum Obelisk and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela is increasing from time to time.
What is more, very recently, the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) have selected Ethiopia 2015’s World Best Tourist Destination. The council tipped its hat for Ethiopia on several grounds. The presence of various tourist destinations is one factor. The tranquility and calm and stable socio-political condition of the country have also breathed life into the tourism sector.
As it was mentioned by Culture and Tourism Minister Amin Abdulkedir “The prevailing peaceful and stable socioeconomic and political situation in the country, wedded with the availability of various tourist attraction sites, has afforded the nation the fortune of winning ECTT award.”
The various policies and strategies adopted by the government have an elixir effect on the overall socioclutural and political life of the nation. In this regard, the tourism sector is benefiting much, he added.
After the country unsaddled itself from the yoke of the dictatorial regime, the nation has introduced a constitution that respects human and democratic rights of citizens.
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In, the scenario, before two decades and half, was not conducive for the tourism sector as the then government was oblivious to the beauty embedded in diversity – it was not in a condition to respect diversity of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. There was a wide-spread bias towards cultural diversity. This had an adverse effect on the development of the sector. Particularly it had a negative implication to those tourists, fond of cultural tourism.
In the country like Ethiopia, a melting pot of over 80 ethnic groups,recognizing and respecting the identity and cultural system of nation, nationalities and peoples is a must. However, this basic right of theirs had been trampled underfoot by the then governments.
Ethiopia showcases an amalgam of cultures. The country is a land where various ethnic groups are living in harmony with their distinctive cultural practices. It is a land where the two major faiths Christianity and Islam display to the whole world an exemplary peaceful co-existence. Ethiopia is the origin of humankind. It is a land where once ancient civilization flourished.
Cognizant the role tourism plays in underpinning the economy, the government has been taking various measures to uplift the sector. As part of this move it has brought into play the Ethiopian Tourism Organization. This organization is mandated to develop tourist destinations. The Tourism Transformation Council is the other stakeholder that is working unceasingly for the development of the sector.
According to Ethiopian Tourism Organization CEO Solomon Tadesse, seeing the key role of the tourism sector the government has given focal attention to it.
According to him, the fact that ECTT’s recognition of Ethiopia as 2015 world’s best tourist destination is a great opportunity to build the image of the country and add value to the tourism sector.
Also the expansion of various infrastructures throughout the country is playing a significant role in attracting tourists to the country.
State Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mulugeta Seid also said that the presence of various cultural practices and tourist destinations are playing a significant role to the tourism sector.
According to him, community based tourism in the country is also contributing a great role for sustainable tourism in the country.
On 25 June 2015 the General Assembly of the European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT), had indicated the list of candidates for WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION for 2015.
On the debate for the WORLD BEST TOURIST DESTINATION AWARD FOR 2015, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) presented a report titled: Ethiopia : The perfect cultural destination; the land chosen by God !
According to ECTT, tourism is instrumental in poverty eradication, for local community development and for economic independence. He lauded the far-reaching and effective strategy carved by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Source: Ethiopian Herald