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Ethiopia as an ancient country has abundant tourism resources that can be tapped to support the economy. A diverse array of topography that runs the gamut from a depression point 10 meter below sea level like Dallole to helms of mountain like Ras Dashen 4591 meter above sea level.
Lakes strewed across the country, rivers that gushes in every direction and different climatic zones the country is blessed with beautify the nation.
Archaeological sites which showcases Ethiopia's being the origin of mankind, nature endowed pristine parks found at different parts of the country,ancient monuments,Mosques, Rock-hwen churches,Monasteries and ancient civilizations which explain human thought and culture etc are some of touristic spots that can attract visitors.
Some of the ancient parchment scripts and religious antiquates still beg for an in depth study and further investigation. All these can be an asset for tourism. Its people are famous known for their hospitality. People from different ethnic groups and religious domain display a chemistry exemplary to many despite attempts by ill wishers to drive a wedge between citizens.
Flipping back to tourism,due to various reasons, the sector has not yet developed to the required level. Lack of sufficient infrastructures such as roads,hotels and water as well as travel agencies,tour operators,skilled man power stifle the sector's move to a snail's pace.
In other countries, where the sector is well developed, tourism creates jobs for thousands,enhances the growth of travel agencies, contributes for the Growth of Domestic Products and introduces the country to the outside world. The sector also contributes for the flow of ideas and acculturation.
Tourism unlike other sectors, it has more output with less input and is one of the most environment smart or smock-less industry.
According to some sources, currently countries that resort to green-development path prefer encouraging tourism as it proves feasible. Countries which have bountiful natural resources encourage eco-tourism and earn a handsomesome return. In addition to bringing income for the nation, it could also play a crucial role in image building.
The Ethiopian Tourist Trading Enterprise is established 50 years ago for the advancement of tourism in the country. Since that time,it has played crucial role in supporting the objectives of the industry. When it celebrated its 50th Anniversary recently, it revealed that, it had devoted its energy and time to preserving the ancient and precious cultural antiquates. And in addition, it produces and supplies artifacts to the domestic and foreign markets.
With such practices, it could manage to pass down spiritual, material and cultural legacy from generation to generation. For the further preservation of the antiquates, it is giving different training for stakeholders. As a result, currently many private organizations are engaged in the production of antiquates. The market prospect of the sector has also boomed.
According to the Enterprise, by now it has become a model in Africa in tourism business. And it has more than 60 business partners all over the world. It as well and conducted exhibitions to showcase Ethiopian handicrafts in Japan,Canada,France ,Germany,Algeria, Sudan and Kenya. With these activities, it could build the nation's image in the eyes' of the international community.
Currently it has 10 duty free,10 handicrafts and four liquor shops, a production centre as well as a supper market. The enterprise has become a profit making institution, which channels sufficient money to the government treasury.
From the year 2002 to 2004, on average its sells had grow by 10.90 per cent and non-taxed goods by 12.37 per cent, taxed goods by 13.17 per cent. Handicraft and artistic materials sells has grown by 7.3 per cent.With regard to earning foreign currency, during the last budget year, it had earned 986.9million dollar and the annual growth of currency earning had risen to 12.37 per cent.
The achievement of the Ethiopian Tourist Trading Enterprise clearly tells us that, if the sector is tapped as much as the nation's capacity permits,it can help in boosting the nation's economy.
As witnessed for a decade the nation's economy has been scoring a double digit growth. This clearly indicates how far the nation is attracting foreign investment and elbowing its way into the international trade. This means, the chance of the nation to attract foreigners through trade and business is increasing. Side by side with this, the city has become more preferable in hosting international conferences related with business and economy. This in turn, expands the inflow of foreign conference participants,who can have a chance to visit the nation's tourist destinies. Thus,taking such opportunities, cultivating tourism is vital for the nation's growth.
For the development of tourism industry, apart from the government,the private sector should be encouraged to involve in the sector and more investment must be injected to the sector.
However, as mentioned above, for the flourishing of tourism the sector must be uplifted from its embryonic level to the a higher one. To that end, educational institutions must be expanded and the number of graduates in tour operation must be increased. Standardized inter-regional roads,airports and hotels should be expanded. Promotion works must also continue. The provision of capacity building training for the regional government office personnel should be strengthened and some bureaucratic hurdles which inhibit the flourishing of tourism must be averted. More and more inhabitants living in tourist destination areas must share from the income that accrues from tourism.
This is crucial because, in some part of the nation, marginalized and neglected communities are observed in acting against the tourism resources.
Hence, to meet the nation's ambitious development plan that is to say reaching middle income country by 2025, strengthening the smokeless and economically feasible industry must be strengthened.