When United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) enlisted 12 heritages in its first version sites in 1978, Ethiopia was amongst the seven countries including Canada, the U.S., Senegal, among others, which inscribed two heritages. In fact, the world heritages list has over 1,000 sites across the world now.
Of the 195 United Nations member states, about 168 member states have so far inscribed several heritages under UNESCO. As one of the member states, Ethiopia, staring from the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, to the recently inscribed Gedeo Cultural Landscape, has inscribed about 11 tangible heritages.
Thus, Ethiopia is the leading African country followed by South Africa, as well as Egypt, Kenya and Senegal on the third rank by registering different tangible and intangible heritages. Travel Journalist, Henok Seyoum commended that the country has registered several tangible and intangible heritages as world heritages.
Speaking to the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA), Henok reiterated that the efforts geared towards registering the fortified historic town of Harar, Konso and Gedeo Cultural Landscapes, Bale Mountains National park, among others, was exceptional regardless of the gaps witnessed in the sector.
Emphasizing that the nation has immense potential of tourism, he said the nation could highly benefit as well as attract number of tourists to the country through tapping its natural resources effectively.
Nonetheless, he stressed that much effort should be exerted in promoting the inscribed heritages to the rest of the world. Developing infrastructure of tourists’ sites, creating employment opportunities and promoting activities should be given due emphasis by concerned institution, as to him.
“Not only do tourist destinations have poor infrastructure, but they are also short of adequate accommodation to satisfy tourists and it remains to be a challenge.” Similarly, promotion activities have been neglected to the point where few tourists attractions such as lower Awash valley and lower valley of the Omo, and Tiya archaeological site only been visited by tourists that happen to learn about the sites from senior international authors.
It has only been three to four years that the nation has started paying special attention towards the tourism sector. Unfortunately, the sector’s economic importance was underrated. Had it not been to the little attention given to it, the nation could have achieved more from the sector.
However, the tourist destinations built under the initiative of the Prime Minister through Gebeta LeHager,Gebeta LeTewilid, as well as Gebeta LeSheger have had undeniable importance in enhancing the sector. Thus, each concerned body at all levels should feel responsible in expanding such destinations.
In this regard, he suggested that priority should be given to promoting sustainable tourism through incorporating the society. Implementing different ecotourism directions is another area that the Travel Journalist commended.
In the same manner, he underlined that the private sector should be encouraged to contribute their share along with the government for the betterment of the tourism sector.
Besides, for developing the infrastructure of those enlisted heritage sites, similar attention should go to preserving the resources so as to attract more tourists, create jobs thereby making Ethiopia Africa’s leading tourism hub, he stressed.