World Tourism Day was celebrated Sunday, September 29th, at Aba-Shawel sub-zone under the theme “Tourism and Jobs — A Better Future for All”.
Aba-Shawel sub-zone was chosen for the event to commemorate World Tourism Day to show the importance of the Aba-Shawel district in the history of Asmara and to explore the values of the communities and showcase their traditional food.
The indigenous people who lived in Aba-Shawel built the modern Art Deco buildings in Asmara, which was recognized by UENSCO as a world heritage in 2017. During the Italian colonial time, the indigenous people were barred from entering the Italian localities they helped build. A trace of the indigenous people’s dexterity in creating their own style of structural shelter is still noticeable, which has kept them in harmony for years.
Mrs. Sara Tesfamichael, administrator of the Aba-Shawel sub-zone, said on the occasion that Aba-Shawel was the breeding ground of many talents — famous artists, business people and people in leadership positions.
Mrs. Liya Gebreab, director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Central zone branch, said that “this day is significant that reminds us of the importance of the tourism sector in the economic development of a nation and the job opportunities that can be created by exploiting our rich resources”.
“Taking this into account I urge all the stakeholders who engage in this sector to play their positive role to enhance the quality of services provided,” she added.
The day was made colourful with performances by the Znar Tibebat cultural troupe of Zoba- Maekel and artists who grew up in Aba-Shawel. They also paid tribute to famous deceased artists including Tiberh Tesfahuney, Alamin Abdeletif, Tsehaitu Beraki and others by remixing their songs which have deep links to the communities. Different traditional food stuffs were also displayed.
World Tourism Day has been celebrated every year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since 1980. It is celebrated to raise awareness about the role of tourism and to focus on the fact that travelling has a major social, cultural, political and economic effect on our lives.
World Tourism Day is also celebrated because the more people travel, the more they get to see the range of tourism choices countries offer. The diversity countries offer is seen in their landscape, cuisine, tribes, faith, music, dance, arts, adventure, crafts, sport, history and spirituality.
Travelling has become a major source of revenue for several countries across the globe in the last several decades. “Tourism’s role in job creation is often undervalued and, hence, new policies are needed to maximize tourism’s potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth, reflect and incorporate ongoing advances in technology, and to address the current mismatch between tourism skills that are taught and those that tourism employers need,” said a UN Tourism and Travel council report.
That is why in 2019, in line with UNWTO’s overarching focus on skills, education and jobs throughout the year, World Tourism Day was celebrated under the theme ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’. The theme in 2017 was “Sustainable Tourism” and in 2018 it was “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”.
According to World Travel and Tourism Council report of 2017, tourism generates 10% of employment around the world, which is one in every ten jobs. It accounts for around 10.4% of the world GDP. It is the third biggest sector after the Chemical and Energy sectors.
In many countries, tourism acts as an engine for development through foreign exchange earnings and the creation of direct and indirect employment. Globally 110 million people work in travel and tourism not only as pilots, chefs, hotel staff, tour guides, or on cruise ships but also as accountants, designers and engineers for tourism companies, or supporting the industry with laundry services, food production and handicraft. A further 183 million people benefit indirectly from this smoke-less industry. In the developing countries, this sector plays a prominent role in fostering the economic situation of the country as it practically provides job opportunity to unskilled and semi-skilled working population.
Tourism in many developing and least developed countries is the most viable and sustainable option for development and in some countries the main source of foreign exchange earnings. Part of this income trickles down to different groups of the society, and, if properly managed with a strong focus on poverty alleviation, it can directly benefit the poorer sections of a society through direct and indirect employment in the tourism enterprises, goods and services provided to tourists, and the running of small and community-based enterprises, with a positive impact on the national economy.
Tourism is labor-intensive and a major source of employment for many in the world. Tourism jobs often have a multiplier effect, and the UNWTO has found that one job in the sector creates about one-and-a-half additional or indirect jobs in tourism-related economies.
Due to its location by the coast of the Red Sea, Eritrea has been a destination of travellers from ancient times. The historical places such as Adulis, Qohaito and Metera are examples of ancient Eritrean civilization that flourished due to its contacts with the outside world.
Eritrea has rich natural and cultural heritage assets such as national parks, breathtaking landscapes, abundant biodiversity, coral reefs, ancient cities and monuments. If these assets are exploited properly, they could boost the tourism industry. The policy of the Government of Eritrea is to pave a way for regulated, responsible and sustainable tourism industry that reflects the tourism resources.
World Tourism Day has been celebrated 25 times in Eritrea.