JAKARTA/INDONESIA – Ethiopia wants to emulate Indonesia’s tourism success, says its top diplomat in Jakarta, as the African nation begins to share the Asian nation’s experience in the sector.
In an interview with The Daily Monitor, Ethiopia’s ambassador in Jakarta, Admassu Tsegaye (Ph.D.) said Indonesia has a lot of experiences in the sector, especially in community-based tourism.
He mentioned the country’s very popular tourist destinations such as the iconic resort island of Bali and how they are managed.
The ambassador feels that there are many lessons in Indonesia that can be applicable in Ethiopia and boost its enormous potential in tourism.
Fortunately, the East African nation has both historical and natural tourist destinations that could attract more visitors from every corner of the globe.
Unfortunately, limited participation of communities living in the tourist sites in the process of preserving and promoting them coupled with the absence of sufficient facilities in and around the areas are hampering the sector.
Involving Community key
The tourism industry can develop when tourist destinations are owned, supported, benefit and led by the local communities in and around the sites, said Admassu.
The ambassador feels that communities’ engagement has created a sense of ownership in Indonesia and, therefore, “created a big impact” in the sector.
Their involvement ranges from working in the smallest of jobs to a major decision-making process.
The industry has, therefore, created more job and other opportunities in the country that is endowed with a range of tourist attractive natural resources, Admassu said.
The sector has contributed at least 15.8bln US dollar in 2018/19 Indonesia’s FY alone making it among the top two major contributors of the Southeast Asian nation’s economy.
Bali, which is one of Indonesia’s popular provinces with over 4.2 million populations, was able to attract over 6.2 million tourists last year alone.
The industry gives so much attention to the communities living in tourist destination places, and that creates diversified economic activities and adds value at the household level, said Sigit Witjaksono (Ph.D.), director of tourism marketing for south and central Asia, the Middle East and Saudi Arabia at Indonesia Ministry of Tourism.
This encourages communities to take pride in their heritage and protect tourism sites, he added.
The Ethiopian embassy in Jakarta is taking note of that.
“We have conducted a study of our own on best practices here, and how they are impacting the sector and become a more vibrant contributor to the economy,” ambassador Admassu said.
The embassy has already sent the results of its study to Ethiopia. Its result could help the ministry of tourism effort to advance the sector, said the former Addis Ababa University president, adding the government of Indonesia “is very keen to work with us”.
The director at Indonesia’s foreign ministry too expressed his country’s readiness to work with Ethiopia.
He also applauded Ethiopian airlines for its contribution to the sector. The airline has regular flights to Jakarta, easing access for its customers to Indonesia’s major tourist destinations.
“It is contributing to our tourism development by bringing tourists from different areas including Africa,” said the official Indonesia, where tourism contributes 15 percent to its GDP.
By Sisay Sahlu
Caption: Tourist Attraction: Candi Borobudur (temple), Java, Indonesia