January 1, 2011

Ministry of Tourism: National Tourism Development Plan 2000-2020

skalu Menkerios

Tourism, including both international and domestic tourism, is one of the most dynamic and important socioeconomic sectors in the World today, and Contributes almost 12 per cent to the global economy. In 1998, there were 625 Million international tourist arrivals globes, which generated a total of US$445 Billion in foreign exchange. On a global basis, international tourism is projected to continue growing at 4-5 per cent annually in the 21st century.

According to Tourism Vision 2020, published by the World Tourism Organization in 1997, it is expected that there will be about 700 Million international tourist arrivals in the year 2000 about one billion in 2010 and approximately 1.6 Billion arrivals in 2020. Tourism receipts are expected to reach $2 Trillion by 2020. By then, one out of every four arrivals will be long-haul — tourists travelling among different World regions-. All the worlds regions will experience substantial growth in international tourism.

Africa received approximately 25 Million international tourist arrivals, about 3.5 per cent of global arrivals in 1998*. By 2020, total international tourist arrivals in Africa are expected to almost triple to reach 75 Million, an average growth rate of 5.4 per cent a year. By 2020, Africa is expected to account for about 4.7 per cent of World arrivals, above its present Proportion of global arrivals but still much below the regions potential. Southern and Eastern Africa are considered to have the best growth prospects, but tourism will expand in all areas of the region.

013Domestic tourism is estimated to be about ten times the amount of international tourism in terms of tourist trips. Domestic tourism is expected to continue growing rapidly in all the worlds regions including Africa.

With its many natural. Archaeological/historic and cultural attractions and advantages of location relatively near major tourist markets in Europe and the Middle East, Eritrea potentially can participate in the growth and benefits of tourism being experienced globally and in Africa. The country already has an emerging tourism sector, which can greatly expand if the conditions are suitable for growth. Fortunately, the government has given priority to developing this sector. Tourism in Eritrea can generate direct economic benefits of employment, income, foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. Tourism can also serve as a catalyst for the expansion of agriculture and fisheries, manufacturing, handicrafts and construction and help justify and pay for infrastructure improvements. Visits to the country by tourists may also lead to attracting more foreign investment to the country.

In addition to economic benefits, tourism can be a stimulus for conservation of the countrys natural environment and cultural heritage because these features comprise the primary attractions for tourists. Eritrea is generally not well known internationally, and tourism can help introduce the environment, history and culture of the country to the world. Through this exposure, the distinctive character of Eritrea and ist people can be better understood and appreciated internationally.

Developing domestic tourism is also important in Eritrea. Domestic tourism provides recreation opportunities for Eritreas, helps them learn about and enjoy their own rich environmental, historic and cultural heritage including the recent Struggle for Independence, and distributes economic benefits more widely through the country, especially from urban to rural areas.

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* As defined by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the Africa region refers to the continent of Africa excluding Egypt and Libya (which are part of the Middle East region) and including the nearby island countries.
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