Ethiopia earned $1.4 billion in revenue from tourism during the second quarter of the country’s current fiscal year, which ended on January 8th, 2019, an official has said.
The figure was some 47% short of the $2.7 billion target for the period, said Dr Hirut Kassa, Minister of Culture, while presenting the performance report of her ministry at the national parliament on Wednesday February 20th.
Ethiopia is referred to as an ancient country with a unique cultural heritage, rich history and remarkable biodiversity and nine of its attractions have been registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites - more than any other country in Africa.
Within its borders, one can find the world's fourth-holiest Islamic city, along with the oldest continuously-occupied town south of the Sahara. Compelling antiquities include the mediaeval rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Gheralta, ruined palaces and temples dating back 3,000 years, the magnificent 17th century castles of Gondar, and the oldest human fossils unearthed anywhere on the planet.
Add to this the beautiful Simien and Bale Mountains, the spectacular volcanic landscapes of the Danakil Depression, and a wealth of mammals and birds found nowhere else in the world.
The half year revenue has seen a decline of over 300,000 visitors compared to the corresponding period last year despite an improvement in the security after reformist leader Abiy Ahmed came to power in April last year as prime minister.
According to the minister, 380,376 foreign tourists visited the country during the past six months. Tourist inflow makes up 46% of the target for the period.
In Ethiopia, tourism generates about 700,000 jobs in businesses such as hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators, recreation and entertainment companies, and souvenir shops. Indirectly, it also provides work in many small firms which sell goods and services to the tourism sector.