Ethiopia is one of the best tourism destinations in the world and it accounts for over 7% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Ethiopia is a land of wonder and is a country with one of the richest histories on the African continent that is a land of contrasts and surprises of remote and wild places, home to cultured and friendly people who are descended from some of the world’s oldest civilizations
This is the land of the fabled Queen of Sheba, home of the Ark of the Covenant, the birthplace of coffee. ‘Lucy: the world’s oldest known almost-complete hominid skeleton, more than three million years old was discovered here.
Ethiopia has various attractions that is; the Historic Route, covering the ancient town of Axum, with its amazing carved obelisks, Christian festivals and relics, including the Ark of the Covenant; Gondar with its castles and palaces; Lalibela with its remarkable rock-hewn churches; Negash, one of the earliest holy Muslim centres from the Prophet Muhammad Era with the Negash Amedin Mesgid; the walled Muslim city of Harar and Lega Oda, near Dire Dawa where you can see cave paintings considered to be thousands of years old.
Lake Tana source of the Blue Nile is the largest lake with 37 islands and the Monasteries like Kibran Gebriel and Kidanemhiret dating back to 14th century.
The Great Rift Valley lakes, many with national parks are home to a wealth of bird and animal life and high, rugged; Simien Mountains in the north and the Bale mountains in the southeast are also home to some unique wildlife
There are eleven national parks and four sanctuaries where 277 species of wildlife and more than 850 species of birds can be seen. The Simien Mountains National Park is registered by UNESCO as a world heritage site and is home to three of the endemic mammals, Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon and Abyssinian Wolf..
Other National Parks include Bale Mountains and Abijatta-Shalla in Oromia, Nech Sar, Mago and Omo National Parks in the south and Yangudi Rasa in Afar, Gambella National park in Gambella, as well as Awash in both Oromia and Afar Regions.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s friendly and safe capital city has so much to offer with its first-class hotels and restaurants, museums and palaces and good shopping which includes the Mercato – Africa’s largest open-air market.
Ethiopia is a mosaic of people with more than 80 languages, different lifestyles, costumes and cultural dances.
The ministry is the part of the Government of Ethiopia responsible for developing and promoting the tourist products of Ethiopia both inside the country and internationally
Tourism Development Policy
This policy which was endorsed by the Council of Ministers in August, 2009 gives due attention to:
- Guiding the sector in a broad based development framework
- Developing the existing and new tourism attractions and products
- Expanding the infrastructure and tourist services that are vital for the growth of the sector
- Ensuring that the country benefits from the sector by being sufficiently competitive in the international tourism market
Tourism in Ethiopia has been summarized to include the following