The six-month state of emergency recently declared by the government to deal with months of protests is scaring away tourists – putting the tourism sector of the country in jeopardy.

By Marthe van der Wolf (VOA News) |

Ethiopia’s tourism sector is suffering. The impact of a year of violent protests and state of emergency has led to a decline in tourists visiting the country. Ethiopia had been showing signs of becoming a popular new tourism destination in recent years, attracting people not only for its historical sights, but also for its reputation as one of the safest African countries.

Rock churches in the historical town of Lalibela, in northern Ethiopia, attract thousands of tourists each year. But the six-month state of emergency declared three weeks ago by the government to deal with months of protests is scaring away tourists.

Belayneh Mengesha is a Lalibela tour guide who was born and raised in the town. He says October is usually the start of the high season but not this year.

ALSO READ: Ethiopia Tour Operators Cancel Holidays as Unrest Spreads in the Country

“Unfortunately, because of this problems happening in some parts of the country, some just have already cancelled their trips to Ethiopia,” said Mengesha.

Belayneh also says tourism is a source of income, directly or indirectly, for many citizens of Lalibela. Meaning that any decrease of visitors affects the entire community, even though Lalibela has not been hit by the protests and demonstrations.

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