Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Commemorating World Tourism Day

“Preservation and protection of heritage sites, product development initiatives including the ones implemented by the H.E Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and efforts exerted to protect national parks and protected areas are among the key tasks conducted to develop destinations.”

World tourism day is commemorated on 27th of September every year internationally with the primary objective of creating public awareness on the socio-economic and environmental importance of the tourism industry and acknowledge the sector’s power to bring people together by creating immense opportunities for fraternity and economic prosperity. In commemorating world tourism this year, ABN had a special feature with Dr. Hirut Kassaw, the Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism. The special edition with Dr. Hirut, highlighted key topics such as the significance of the tourism industry in the economic development of Ethiopia, the greatest achievements thus far, challenges and the current developments undertaken to enhance the industry moving forward amidst the pandemic.

An excerpt from our interview with Dr. Hirut as ensued: the day is also marked in Ethiopia every year, which coincides exactly with Meskel Festival (The finding of the true cross), the intangible world heritage. This season heralds the beginning of the bright season and ending of the rainy season. World Tourism day is celebrated in Ethiopia based on customized themes which in complete alignment with the general theme designated by WTO. She believed the commemoration of world tourism day helps to strengthen the culture of travel thereby fueling domestic tourism on one hand, and enhancing peoples understanding on the multi-dimensional advantages of the tourism sector.

Furthermore, she posited the need to understand the nature and inherent characteristics of the tourism industry generally. Tourism is an industry which is highly susceptible to natural and manmade crises that disrupt overall functioning of its components. Political instability, civil riots, war, natural disasters may occur at any time and these would dilute the smooth operation of the tourism industry. In a similar vein, Ethiopian tourism is not immune to such kind of shocks that happen occasionally and elicit stagnations, or decline at certain times, in the growth path of the sector. For instance, the tourism industry has sharply declined during the Ethio-Eritrean War and resumed to register a remarkable growth then after. The COVID 19 pandemic and current security issues in the country have also combined to significantly limit the business of tourism which led to adverse effects on the tourism communities.

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