Tourism in Ethiopia
Tourism in Ethiopia accounted for 5.5% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006, having barely increased 2% over the previous year. The government is proving its commitment and willingness to develop tourism through a number of initiatives. Tourism is a featured component of Ethiopia's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which aims to combat poverty and encourage economic development.
Tourist destinations include Ethiopia's collection of national parks (including Semien Mountains National Park), and historic sites, such as the cities of Axum, Lalibela, Gonder, Negash Mosque, Sof `Umer Washa, and Harar Jugol.
Developed in the 1960s, tourism declined greatly during the later 1970s and the 1980s under the Derg. Recovery began in the 1990s, but growth has been constrained by the lack of suitable hotels and other infrastructure, despite a boom in construction of small and medium-sized hotels and restaurants, and by the effects of drought and political instability.
One encouraging aspect is the growing popularity of ecotourism, with significant potential for growth in Ethiopia. Travel retail sales are expected to continue to grow, posting an increase of 7% in 2006 and with a forecast 5% increase in 2007. Sales are driven primarily by expanding interest in ecotourism packages, including adventure travel, trekking and walking safaris that are making up much of the tour operators' revenues.
Millennium pageant controversy
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which is responsible for developing and promoting tourism in Ethiopia, was embroiled in a major controversy surrounding a beauty pageant in celebration of the Ethiopian Millennium in 2007. Allegedly Mohamouda Ahmed Gaas and officials from the ministry obtained promotional services from a UK based company for the Ethiopian Millennium, but refused to pay after the event took place. Following claims of failure to pay major bills, in December 2009 the company commenced formal legal action in the British courts, seeking a total payment of US$1,022,810.52, comprising US$488.500.00 principal debt and US$543,310.52 interest and late fees.
- Travel and Tourism in Ethiopia, Euromonitor
- Ethiopia country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (April 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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- "Miss Tourism Millennium attracts international contestants". Jimma Times. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Ethiopia’s State Ministry for Culture and Tourism Corruption Scandal". Gadaa.com. 2009-03-14. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- "Ethiopia fails to pay world pageant beauties their money". Ethiomedia.com. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
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