Ethiopia’s tourism sector generated over $3.32 billion in revenue with more than 886,800 tourists visiting the East African country during the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The latest figures were disclosed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism on the sidelines of this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations.
The government has repeatedly expressed its concern about the declining number of domestic tourist over the years, despite the growing number of foreign visitors.
In an effort to reverse this trend, authorities have decided to organize World Tourism Day celebrations around a week-long program from 21 to 27 September 2017.
The programme according to the government will promote national tourism by focusing on the country’s historic and natural sites.
The Ministry further stressed that it hoped to increase arrivals to 1 million and by that, to generate $29.8 billion in revenue this year.
2016 dip in tourism revenue blamed on anti-government protests
BBC’s correspondent in the country reported that there was a drop in tourism revenue for the last quarter of 2016. In terms of figures, the tourism ministry said more than $7m (£5.5m) was lost.
Ethiopia was projected to have lost about 400 million dollars in the year under review. Spreading anti-government protests in Oromia and Amhara regions were partly blamed for the fall.
A local media portal said the country had planned to generate 3 billion dollars from tourism in 2016 but they were forced to revise its targets.
The government declared a state of emergency in October 2016 as part of efforts to quell the protests. It was lifted after 10 months in August this year.
Ethiopia is a preferred tourist destination for people from around the world. It is estimated that in 2015, over 900,000 tourists visited Ethiopia – famous for its rock-hewn churches, highlands and national parks.
But tour operators report of increase in cancellation of reservations by tourists after the US, UK and several other countries issued travel advisories, warning citizens against all but essential travel to Ethiopia.