Nation sees tourism decline in 2018


The Ministry of Cultural and Tourism reports that 84,000 fewer people visited Ethiopia for business or tourism in 2018.
In 2017 a total of 943,343 visitors came to Ethiopia while in 2018 849,000 tourists visited. Ethiopia’s goal was to bring in 2.7 billion USD from tourism although it’s unclear if this happened.
The political instability of the country and the weak promotion of tourism are behind the slump in tourism. Those visiting friends and relatives declined in 2018 from 325,844 the year before to 61,681. Conference attendees increased from 16,909 the year before to 62,077. Those coming for leisure amounted to 316,000, which is a decrease of 132,000 the year before. Those on transit visas numbered 120,000 an increase from 47,685 in 2017.
In 2018 Africans from Djibouti, Eretria ,Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Chad ,Sudan South Africa, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria shared 29.35 of the total visitors while the North American countries; USA and Canada shared 19.88 percent.
Globally the highest number of tourists come from the USA at 147,000, China and UK had 50,626 and 42,725 visitors respectively.
Among people coming from African countries to Ethiopia, Nigeria was in first place with 27, 422 visitors while Kenya and South Africa have 23,380 and 17, 145 respectively.
Ethiopia’s tourism has suffered the effect of anti-government protests and violence in the past four years. Under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia in 2018 started a visa-free entry plus issuance of e-visas have been identified as key boosters to the sector in the coming years.
Most of the tourists Ethiopia attracts are from Africa, followed by Europe and North America. Tourism accounts for 4.1 percent of Ethiopia’s GDP and is expected to increase to five percent by 2026. The tourism industry in Ethiopia could be legitimately described as one that is still in its infancy. Its current low level of development is often attributed to weak promotion, lack of trained manpower, finance, and knowledge and management capacity.