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News: Tigray region’s tourism destinations to reopen after years of closure

The rock churches of Gheralta Mountains are one of the most popular tourist destinations located in the Tigray region (Photo: Social Media)

Addis Abeba – The tourist destinations in the Tigray region, which had been closed for nearly three years due to security concerns, are set to reopen and welcome tourists starting this week.

In an interview with Addis Standard, Atsbha Gebreegziabher, the head of the Tigray Tourism Bureau, announced plans to launch a tourism rebranding program in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Tourism. The program is scheduled to commence this Thursday.

Atsbha mentioned that the initial reopening plan was slated for three months ago, but there were delays from the federal government, resulting in the official launch of the rebranding program being postponed.

Since 2020, the tourist sites in Tigray have been inaccessible to visitors due to security risks, causing significant harm to the hotels and hospitality industry. The Tigray conflict, which ended in November 2022, had a tremendous impact on Ethiopia’s tourism sector, accounting for nearly 10% of the national economy. Tigray is home to numerous tourist attractions in Ethiopia, such as the Axum Obelisks, Gheralta Mountains, Debre Damo Monastery, and Nejashi, one of Africa’s oldest mosques.

Sileshi Girma, the State Minister for Tourism, recently told state media that the maintenance of the Axum Obelisk is nearly complete, and hotels and service providers are gearing up to offer services with the aim of promoting the area.

Visitors planning to visit the historic city of Axum and its heritage sites by air will be required to travel through the Shire Airport, located 103 kilometers away from Axum city. The Axum Airport has not resumed operations since its destruction in 2020 due to the conflict.

However, Sileshi emphasized the interconnectedness of the Tigray region with Afar and Amhara and reassured that a well-coordinated effort would be made to ensure the safety of both local and international tourists.

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Atsbha hopes that other regional states will also participate in the reopened program to guarantee safe travel for everyone and address any security concerns. AS

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