One is really tired of listing what Ethiopia does naturally possess. Yes, the tangible and the intangible heritages with which the country is bedecked have granted it a majestic look and additional money comes to the country’s economy thanks to tourists and investors for expending dosh.
The increase in consumption of products by tourists at various centers, growth of investment appeal of the local tourist industry are undoubtedly resulted from the growing number of tourists, whose confidence has been won by the tangible ones like cultural legacy centers, monuments, hewn churches or caves, historical sites, astounding landscapes and the like which mainly require conservation and restoration measures as well as the intangible ones including customs, oral traditions, music, languages, poetry, dance, festivities, religious ceremonies, traditional knowledge systems among others.
The advancement of tourism in the nation calls for creation of new approaches with a view to buttressing the industry. As a result, the Ethiopian Government has attached due emphasis to the construction of lodges, resorts, hotels, catering establishments, and other related facilities to modernize and increase productivity, efficiency of existing resources, fostering transportation and other infrastructure which do have a direct bearing to the flourishing of tourism industry.
Israel Desalegn, a student of Heritage Management at Debre Berhan University said, “The success of development of tourism depends not only on material base, but also on uniqueness of historical and cultural heritages. Different parts of the country are endowed with a number of unique historical sites, complexes of cult architecture, historical monuments and imperceptible heritages.”
He further said that existence of unique historical and cultural objects can predetermine successful development of tourism in the country, indeed.
As to him, the creation of natural and historical parks as well as mesmerizing mega projects like Entoto and Sheger and the newly commenced projects which are located in different parts of the nation (Koysha, Gorgora, Wonchi) have to receive due emphasis to be well expanded in various potential areas of the nation thereby helping it benefit much out of the tourism industry as it deserves.
It is also necessary to carry out protection and restoration of monuments of culture and history of manmade, natural and traditional landscapes which are also considered timeless historical values and national properties, he added.
He further said that a number of years have elapsed leaving Ethiopia behind the avenue of advancement and prosperity as administrators have solely focused on ways to prolonging regime, not helping the nation garner benefits out of its tangible and intangible heritages–the two most common weapons for soliciting foreign currency and local wealth, whereas the nation has now opened eyes wide and hunt for localities that can boost up tourists’ confidence.
These resources’ role constantly increases in historical and cultural tourism since they carry out economic, social, educational, political and tourist functions.
According to Israel, search of cultural and historical heritage becomes the most important way of regeneration of the nation and its population. The country turns into unique historical and tourism hub regardless of the low level of attention it has attached to them.
For instance, the lucrative approach entertained earlier to make the general community at the vicinity of the national projects direct participant in them and owner of the respective schemes turns into creative or thematic facet in which lion’s share of inhabitants are involved in the protection of the projects. Not only is the incumbent policy heritage preservation of paramount importance in benefiting the project areas local community, but it is also a means for creation of new values to be long-drawn-out to other parts of the nation.
The tangible and intangible heritages, being the strongest incentive tourist motives, are of instrumental in beefing up involvement of tourists. Such a splendid local does not only make profit for the country, but also provides citizenry with the ground to be proud of the inheritances. Hence, it badly requires protection and restoration of the two genres of natural assets.
Yes, said Israel, all sorts of tourists do have varied interests whenever they come to Ethiopia to visit the aforesaid heritages. Their visit could not most definitely be out of the domain of cultural, historical, religious, archaeological and ecological ones.
“These types of interests form a kernel of culture of the tourist centers. These tendencies of diversification of cultural tourism show expansion of a range of motivations within local tourism and specialization of interests of travelers in various aspects of cultures and a heritage of the nation visited by them,” he commented.
He further stated that cost-effectively, interesting routes, various scopes of excursions broaden horizons, develop intelligence, form esthetic taste and help Ethiopia realize and introduce a real picture of itself to the rest of the world better.
Positive value of developing projects under the ‘Dine for the Nation’ scheme is obviously economically benefiting the sites and their inhabitants from enterprises’ investment, rent of buildings, letting out private houses from sale of subjects or reconstruction of the dwelling of improvement of infrastructure of settlements and territories, he added.
An all-encompassing trekking to birthright development should prevail, taking into account the dynamic link between tangible and intangible heritages and their close interaction as the associated utilization of the two absolutely enable the nation to seize the ladder of success in the tourism industry, he underlined.
He wrapped up stating that scholars, professionals and researches of the country have to dig up the apt means and holistic approaches for the exploitation of tangible and intangible heritages and how can they be put into practice for pushing the country economically and technologically forward.
Hence, he said, a call for a threefold approach is required if we are omitted to help the nation benefit much out of its resources under its horizon. It is evident that the increasing international recognition of the profound relationship between tangible and intangible heritage is well comprehended these days.
BY MENGESHA AMARE