Whether it’s adventure travel, historical landmarks or the next unforgettable cup of coffee travelers seek, Ethiopia is ready to welcome them. The Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) has launched its North America campaign, “Ethiopia: Land of Origins,” and seeks to make the country among the top five tourist destinations in Africa by 2025.
“Travel agents should know that Ethiopia is open for tourism and open for business,” says Solomon Tadesse, CEO of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO). “Visitors coming into Ethiopia will have a very unique experience—there is no comparison. It’s a very diverse product.”
Ethiopia continues to bask as one of Lonely Planet’s “top 10 destinations you cannot afford to miss” for 2017—the only African country to make the list. Stability, a solid infrastructure, a strong economy and investments in tourism are pushing the eastern African country into the limelight. Income from tourism continues to grow, with $2.8 billion generated in 2014, when international visitors topped 800,000. Indeed, the International Monetary Fund ranks Ethiopia as one of the world’s top five growing economies. Its capital, Addis Ababa, headquarters the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Ethiopia is also home to more than 80 ethnic groups and is renowned for, among many things, being the birthplace of coffee and the home of Lucy, the world’s oldest (3.2 million years) hominid. The “Land of Origins” campaign is promoting five routes: the Historic North and the Simien Mountains; the Rift Valley and the Cultural Mosaic of the South; the East – Danakil, Harar and Bale Mountains; the West – Lush Nature and Coffee Routes; and Addis Ababa and Surroundings.
Much of the country forms part of the Great Rift Valley, which can be seen from the moon. In fact, approximately 70 percent of Africa’s mountains are in Ethiopia, making it a great destination for sports and adventure tourism. Among the companies offering adventure tourism in Ethiopia: Sunny Land Ethiopia Tours, which specializes in bike tours, and Abyss Land Tours and Travel, which offers trekking and birdwatching.
Cultural and historical landmarks, says Tadesse, are an integral part of Ethiopia’s offerings. AE Alemet Ethiopia Tour Operations has many options that include visits to the famous walled Islamic city of Harar in the east and to the Blue Nile Gorge, while Begoha Tour & Travel covers everything from national parks to the holy Timket Festival.
Another plus: Great connectivity. Ethiopian Airlines, the national carrier and a member of Star Alliance, connects Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa with 93 cities around the world, including Toronto, Newark, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles—the latter with a stop in Dublin.
For more information about Ethiopia, visit www.ethiopia.travel.