Published on : Tuesday, November 1, 2016
With more than a year of violent protest and a state of emergency, Ethiopia’s tourism sector is facing a major blow. The country has seen a decline in the tourists’ figure despite showing the signs of becoming a popular new tourism destination in recent years. It was becoming popular not only for its historical sites, Ethiopia was also known as one of the safest African countries.
Rock churches in the historical town of Lalibela, in northern Ethiopia attracted more than thousands of tourists each year. The six-month state of emergency declared by the government to deal with months of protests is the major reason why the tourists are scared away.
Unfortunately, the problems are happening in certain corners of the country but its effect is creating a major blow to the tourism sector of the country. Tourism is a major source of income which is why the decrease of visitors affects the entire community as a whole.
Bram van Loonsbroek flies air balloons over the Oromia region which causes the cancellation of several flights after the emergency was declared. Tourists are always concerned about their safety and want to stay away from areas with political unrest.
In the last decade, Ethiopia has seen the number of tourists steadily increasing. But any development disturbing the reputation of a tourist destination takes a long time to rebuild. This is why; the ongoing protests in Ethiopia are almost detrimental to the tourism image of the country. Several tour operators say they have about 50 percent less business than last year and some actually welcome the state of emergency in the hope that the protests will quickly stop and tourists will return.