By Haileegziabher Adhanom
ADDIS ABABA, June 8, 2019 – Merely a new phenomenon and the fastest growing tourism sector, Sport tourism is an act of traveling from one location to another, with the goal of being an audience or participant to a sports competition of any kind.
According to the United Nations Special agency for tourism, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “tourism and sports are interrelated and complementary. Sports – as a professional, amateur or leisure activity – involves a considerable amount of traveling to play and compete in different destinations and countries. Major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, football and rugby championships have become powerful tourism attractions in themselves – making a very positive contribution to the tourism image of the host destination.”
Ethiopia, a cradle of humankind, home of endless diversity with its own unique natural and manmade marvels, which attracts millions of visitors and Billions of dollars income on annual basis.
Yet, underutilized and outperformed by others with less attractions compering to ours, the only way out from this is, non-other than working hard in promoting our marvels and exploit every possible product we could shelf out, for the sector.
Hence, it would be very difficult to foundout any single cause that promotes Ethiopia globally, better than Athletics does. A home to some of the best runners of all time, even dubbed as “Land of Runners” by many, a country of welcoming and sport addicted people, and varity of mass participant annual running events, thus, Ethiopia has every chance to use this potential to get its fair share of income from this globally booming sport tourism sector, by increasing the influx of international visitors, by incorporating athletics and its other unmatched wonders of the world within its territory.
Recently, Tourism Ethiopia and Great Ethiopian Run (GER) had signed a three-year partnership agreement to work together to promote Ethiopia’s wonders through GER’s flagship annual international 10km road race, which attracts moderate number of foreigners and the international medias.
Which is an excellent move by the governmental organization, towards utilizing every possible opportunities to promote Ethiopia and to increase the inflow of tourists to the country.
The partnership is aimed at, to utilizing Ethiopia’s intact tourism potential, sport Tourism, by increasing the number of foreigners who will be participating on GER’s annual race, through different
technical implementation mechanisms.
Nowadays there are more and more tourists, who are very interested to participate in sport activities throughout their trips, whether sports are the main objective of their travel or not.
Sport events of various kinds and sizes attract tourists as participants or spectators, and the destinations are trying to add their local flavors to them to distinguish themselves and provide authentic local experiences for their visitors.
Great Ethiopian Run have doing this for the past 18 years, serving as a platform for tourists to have more awareness about Ethiopian people, cultures, norms, foods and their life styles in general.
Alongside the aforementioned enactments, the GER events also had a sound economic impact to our country.
According to a report prepared for Great Ethiopian Run, by Dr. Ian Richards of Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Beckett University: following the conclusions of the 2015 Great Ethiopian Run, there were a total of $1.803 Million generated for Ethiopian Economy from just 750 international visitors, whose primary purpose for their visit to Ethiopia was to attend the GER. Some of their expenditures are international and local flights, hotel, accommodations, and helping charity organizations.
These amounts of money were injected to our economy almost annually since 2001, through the tireless and lone efforts by GER.
That is why the involvement of Tourism Ethiopia to nurture it, is welcoming news for a sector, which requires comparatively a small investment, yet brought very high social and economic yields for the communities, if it is properly developed and managed.
© This story is originally published at www.ethiopianrun.org