Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ethiopia Launches Tourism Development Policy

Ethiopia whose share of tourist flow to the East African Region of seventeen countries was at less than one percent in 2007 launched its first tourism development policy to reverse the situation.

The government also aims to establish ‘Tourism development Fund’ with the key aim of mobilizing resources and capabilities of actors in the implementation of the policy. The establishment and application of the fund will be determined by a study and supported by law, according to the Policy launched at the Sheraton Addis yesterday (August 30, 2010).

The new 35 page tourism policy of Ethiopia among other, aims to integrate the development of the country’s tourism with agricultural, industrial, foreign policies and strategies of the country.

“The burdens of marketing and promotion and capacity building, hitherto fully borne by the government, are gradually shared by supporters,” the document stated.

Developing the existing and new tourist attractions in variety, scale and quality as well as expansion of infrastructure and tourist facilities are also included as the priority areas in the document.

Even though the country possesses eight world heritage sites and many fossils attesting that it is the cradle of mankind, the country has not been able to attract many tourists as compared to its neighbors.

The introduction of the tourism policy and strategy is believed to improve the performance of the industry by integrating it into key development policies and strategies of the country.

In the four years from 2005 to 2008, average annual tourist arrivals were 324,664, while average annual revenue of the country was 167 million US dollars. For these four consecutive years, reports of the sector show a 21 percent of annual growth rates for tourist arrivals and 19.5 percent for revenue.

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