Experts and policymakers attending an event on tourism and technology have called for concerted efforts to harness Ethiopia’s untapped potential in the tourism sector.
They made the call Wednesday during the opening of the Tourism and Technology Week that aims to create a policy discussion platform for tourism-related issues, enhance networking opportunities for tourism digital champions and innovators, as well as bring together partners in the tourism sector.
Ethiopian Minister of Tourism Nasise Chali said that Ethiopia is working to add value to its natural and historical tourist attraction sites so as to fully tap the tourism sector.
As part of the event, panel discussions will be held focusing on tourism in the Ethiopian macroeconomic policy framework, the nexus between tourism and technology, as well as job creation, among others.
Shimelis Abdisa, president of Ethiopia’s Oromia regional state, said that the East African country, despite being naturally endowed with potential tourist attraction sites, is yet to tap into its huge potential due to various hurdles.
Abdisa said the challenges include lack of adequate funding, insufficient travel marketing, and infrastructure deficits along the tourist attraction areas. He said concerted efforts are currently underway at the national and regional levels to harness the country’s untapped tourism endowments.
According to the organizers, with the advent of technological advancements and rapid digitalization, all travel companies have shunned geographical barriers and are adopting online methods to approach their clients. Lack of finance, high training costs, the rapid pace of technological change, and the cost of high-speed broadband, however, are some major obstacles to further the implementation of digital technology in tourism.
Ethiopia’s tourism sector has suffered from recurrent conflicts, which were exacerbated by the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.