Nobel Peace Prize Drives Increased Tourism to Ethiopia
The recent award of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his work in re-establishing good relations with neighbouring Eritrea, a former part of Ethiopia, is driving increased visitation to the "Land of Origins".
Ethiopia experienced the highest tourism growth in the world with year on year growth of 48.5% for 2018 over 2017. according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, surpassing the global rate of 3.9% and the African average of 5.6%. The WTTC cited that the tourism sector supported 2.2 million jobs and contributed $7.4 billion to Ethiopia's economy, a $2.2 billion increase over 2017.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the WTTC and a former Mexican Tourism Minister, identified aviation connectivity, primarily with Ethiopian Airlines, at its Addis Ababa hub; visa relaxation policies; and the development of Addis Ababa as driving forces.
“Modern Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and the defacto capital of Africa as the home of both the African Union and the African headquarters of the United Nations, as well as the hub of the most extensive air service into the continent on Ethiopian Airlines.” Photo courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines.
Ethiopia is home to a number of UNESCO world heritage sites, including the obelisks of ancient Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and the historic fortified town of Harar.
Desale Mitiku Asfaw, CEO of Grand Holidays Ethiopia, one of the country's leading tour operators said, "We are experiencing more visitation due to the policies of Prime Minister Ahmed, our strong tourism products including the historic sites showcasing thousands of years of religious practices and millions of years of human history, our native tribes in the Omo region, our natural attractions such as Simien Mountains National Park and its native baboons, and the amazing food, music, and culture of Ethiopia. The Nobel Peace Prize is already drawing even more interest in Ethiopia. Grand Holidays Ethiopia is very busy fulfilling the demand from all corners of the globe."