The tourism and hospitality industry has experienced tremendous growth both in size and complexity since latter half of the twentieth century around the world. Nowadays, tourism is the economic engine for a significant share of state’s total income and employment. As a labor-intensive industry, tourism is able to generate more jobs than any other sector in different economies.
In Africa, many countries now regard tourism as an important and integral part of their economic development strategies. Indeed, there is a growing recognition that tourism is becoming a dominant sector of economic activity worldwide.
In East Africa tourism receipts average 8.9% of GDP East Africa is the second most visited region for long-haul tourists; Kenya which gave much emphasis and established many training centers for the industry attracts the most.
In Ethiopia tourism is the third biggest foreign-currency-earning industry and the number of tourists visiting is far less than to other African countries, such as Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, or Zimbabwe. Ethiopia possesses more World Heritage sites than even Egypt, but unfortunately they are not fully optimized at the moment. On top of the importance of the industry itself, since hotels are at the center of supply chains, such as food, handicrafts and tour operations, focusing on the hotel industry provides an occasion to overview those associated industries at the same time.
The new tourism policy of Ethiopia among other, aims to integrate the development of the country’s tourism with agricultural, industrial, foreign policies and strategies of the country. Developing the existing and new tourist attractions in variety, scale and quality as well as expansion of infrastructure and tourist facilities are also included as the priority areas in the document.
For Ethiopians, tourism has become the most important productive sector interms of contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and foreign exchange earnings. Through linkages, it has created added value in other economic sectors e.g. agriculture, manufacturing and handicraft.
There are lots of reasons why Ethiopia is an emerging tourist destination in Africa. Among which the followings are the major ones:
- The highest expenditure made by the government in infrastructure development
- Being an origin of humankind
- Being an origin of Coffee Arabica
- Endowing unique animals and birds along with charming hospitality of its nations and nationalities
- The physical weather that the nation endowed etc. are some of there a sons that accelerate the flow of tourists
- Being endowed with natural and historical tourist sites
Ethiopia is a strategically important country in the Horn of Africa for most countries and therefore, many international meetings and conferences are held in Ethiopia. This creates hugedemand for accommodation at an international standard. The supply of accommodation, however, is far below the level needed to meet the demand.
Realizing that the hospitality industry can provide a catalyst right across the economy in terms of production and employment and so in poverty reduction, the Government has formulated a strategy for the sector within the overall development strategy.
The aim is to optimize existing tourism resources as a driving force of economic growth for the whole country. The promotion of sustainable tourism in Ethiopia is also in line with the government’s vision of becoming a middle-income economy with minimal carbon growth by 2025.
All supporting facts mentioned above go in line with the results found on the preliminary need assessment conducted in some selected sample areas. This curriculum is designed on the initiation of Jimma University with the pursuit of establishing an institute for Hospitality and Tourism with state-of the art compound designed.
To realize this, a steering committee formed from the parent department, Depatment of Management, and they have made persistent effort to produce the curricula for Bachelor of Art degree program in Hospitality and Tourism Management.