On April 26th–28th the University of Gondar took part in a conference focusing on the countries culture and tourism sector, which is a first of its kind in Ethiopia. The FDRE Culture and Tourism ministry took part in the occasion. The organizers were, amongst others, the Amhara State Culture Tourism bureau, the University of Gondar and also the Amhara Universities forum. The conference founded on the premise of cultural tourism for the growth and development of the country brought a lot of listening ears. Those who were present for the historic event were, among others, Dr. Hirut Woldemaryam Minister of Culture and Tourism (FDRE), university higher staff, intellectuals, faculty and guests.
In welcoming the people who attended Dr. Asrat Atsedewoin, the academic vice president of UOG, expressed his eagerness and appreciation for such a conference. He reminded the guests that the University of Gondar, about 13 years ago, had opened a tourism management department and this decision in turn had positive impacts in our own tourism industry. The University of Gondar a steady contributor to the workforce has been progressively increasing the manpower needed in the sector to contribute to sustainable growth. Above all things, Dr. Asrat was optimistic for what was to come alluding to the university of Gondar’s track record on such issues.
Dr. Hirut Woldemaryam Minister of Culture and Tourism opening speech, though different in form compared to the academic vice presidents, still had the core principles of the conference intact. Dr. Hirut the Minister of culture and tourism addressed some main defects that effect Ethiopia’s culture and tourism industry. Being FDRE’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Dr. Hirut was not shy to state that the countries wealth when it comes to its culture and traditions, which can be seen as a vital resource for the country, is not being utilized to its potential. There has been minimal work done along with few academic papers produced to show our way of life and culture and this has held us back she said. With confidence though, she expressed that the first annual conference is “crucial to develop our way forward.” Dr. Hirut concluded by saying this hands-on approach to the matter will help implement the appropriate policies that will benefit the sector.
A conference on this scale is an important part of growth as Ethiopia is endowed with many artifacts, historical sights, peoples and languages. Based on the publicity that the country possesses the conference produced 13 research works done by various intellectuals from varying states of the Republic. Some suggestions that were raised stressed the need to incorporate these findings in a more presentable manner. For instance Ethiopian culture, its places of interest and languages need to be presented in a way that can be appealing to the audience. These more innovative techniques may come in the form of skits, leaflets and even trailers that attract the onlooker. In this way the need for more published works and visual presentations are vital according to the Minister of Culture and Tourism.
Moreover, the way forward brought to the forefront by many intellectuals in the field emphasized the fact that this event must go on. The annul conference on culture and tourism needs to be an annual gathering according to the participants that progresses with its aims. All who attended stressed that the backing of unifying traditions and the downgrading through time of unwanted traditions would achieve a milestone in the mission to enhance the cause of this growing sector.
Reporter: Meseret Alemne
Translated by: Samuel Malede