Ethiopia: Tourism Hits Record High in 2015


Ethiopia’s tourism industry is booming after revenue jumped 20.7 percent to a record $3.5 billion in 2015. 

Data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism shows Ethiopia is becoming East Africa’s hottest travel destination. Home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, the country was also named the ‘World’s Best Tourism Destination’ for 2015 by the European Council on Tourism and Trade.


Ethiopia overtakes Kenya, Tanzania

While Kenya and Tanzania may be considered more tourist-ready than Ethiopia, the figures suggest otherwise. Ethiopia earned more from tourism in 2015 than Kenya and Tanzania combined. Kenya, which is struggling to maintain tourism levels due to security fears, dropped 3 percent to earn $837 million from tourism in 2015.

Kenya, which has struggled to maintain tourism levels due to security fears, dropped 3 percent to earn $837 million from tourism in 2015. Tanzania also saw a drop in visitors the same year, earning $1.93 billion. That’s a combined $2.77 billion compared to Ethiopia’s $3.5 billion. Which only goes to show how far Ethiopia is coming along as a tourist destination.


Big plans for Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s rise as a tourist destination is no accident. The country plans to triple visitor numbers by 2020, from roughly 910,000 to 2.5 million. If that sounds overambitious, then 2015’s rise from 600,000 to 910,000 visitors says otherwise.

The landlocked country doesn’t have any beaches to promote, unlike its neighbours. However, travellers flock to the East African nation for very different reasons it seems.

“What Ethiopia offers to tourists, different from Kenya and Tanzania, is history and culture,” tour operator Tony Hickey told the Daily Mail.


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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.