Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Despite the mounting fears and speculation that the State of Emergency (SoE) is likely to affect the tourism sector, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Thursday that in the first quarter of the current fiscal year Ethiopia has managed to bag some USD 872 million exclusively from foreign tourist flows.
The newly appointed Minister, Hirut Woldemariam (PhD), who appeared at the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Thursday to respond to questions from MPs on current affairs said that the tourist flow to the country has increased in past three months defying speculation and fears of violence that hit the nation since the previous year and resulted in the declaration o of a SoE.
Hirut assured MPs that the nation can be “sanctuary to tourists just like what has been mentioned in religious books” through a concerted effort.
She also told MPs that during the UNSCO conference that was held in Addis Ababa two months ago, over 800 foreign participants were in attendance contributing to the overall tourist flow in the first quarter of the fiscal year.
According to Hirut, in the stated three months alone, over 223,032 tourists have visited the country mostly through conference tourism, research business and other activities.
She also explained the details of the world standard to determine how much a tourist can spend when visiting a country. Hence, she added, based on the formula, USD 872 million has been generated in the stated period.
She also underscored that close to 300,000 local tourists have visited various sites across the nation in the same period.
Following the violence occurred in some parts of the country early this Ethiopian fiscal year (2016/17) reports were released indicating that the overall flow of tourists and the revenue generated from the smokeless industry has taken a hit.