Tourism in Ethiopia

Ethiopia recorded a total of 518,000 tourists in 2020, ranking 126th in the world in absolute terms.

The fact that larger countries regularly perform better in a comparison of the absolute number of guests is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Ethiopia, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.0043 tourists per resident, Ethiopia ranked 194th in the world. In Eastern Africa, it ranked 15th.

In 2020, Ethiopia generated around 2.28 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 2.1 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 54 percent of all international tourism receipts in Eastern Africa.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism

Back to overview: Ethiopia

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2020 spent about 3,725 US dollars.

Development of the tourism sector in Ethiopia from 1995 to 2020

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Ethiopia each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g., crew members of ships or flights are also not considered tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

The red line represents the average of all 16 countries in Eastern Africa.

Tourists per year in Ethiopia

Revenues from tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 177.00 million USD, or about 2.3 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 103,000 tourists at that time and roughly 1,718 USD per person. Within 25 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased noticeably. Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were $3.53 billion billion, 3.7 percent of gross national product. Thus, each visitor spent an average of $4,346 on their vacation in Ethiopia.

In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $3.53 billion billion (2019), only $2.28 billion billion remained. This is a 35 percent decrease in Ethiopia.

Tourism receipts in Ethiopia per year

All data for Ethiopia in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
2020518,0002.28 bn $2.1 %4,405 $
2019812,0003.53 bn $3.7 %4,346 $
2018849,0003.55 bn $4.2 %4,179 $
2017933,0002.51 bn $3.1 %2,685 $
2016871,0002.14 bn $2.9 %2,455 $
2015864,0002.28 bn $3.5 %2,638 $
2014770,0002.11 bn $3.8 %2,736 $
2013681,0002.24 bn $4.7 %3,283 $
2012597,0001.98 bn $4.6 %3,317 $
2011523,0002.00 bn $6.3 %3,820 $
2010468,0001.43 bn $4.8 %3,064 $
2009427,0001.12 bn $3.4 %2,621 $
2008383,0001.18 bn $4.4 %3,091 $
2007358,000790.00 m $4.0 %2,207 $
2006330,000639.00 m $4.2 %1,936 $
2005227,000533.00 m $4.3 %2,348 $
2004184,000458.00 m $4.5 %2,489 $
2003180,000336.00 m $3.9 %1,867 $
2002156,000261.00 m $3.3 %1,673 $
2001148,000218.00 m $2.6 %1,473 $
2000136,000205.00 m $2.5 %1,507 $
1999115,000176.00 m $2.3 %1,530 $
1998112,000152.00 m $1.9 %1,357 $
1997139,000157.00 m $1.8 %1,129 $
1996109,000170.00 m $2.0 %1,560 $
1995103,000177.00 m $2.3 %1,718 $

Our data on tourist numbers, revenues and expenditures are based on information from the World Tourism Organization. However, to ensure international comparability, the data for some years or countries were manually researched and corrected if they obviously included visitors without overnight stays. In these cases, the data were taken from the official communications of the respective national tourism authorities.

The World Tourism Organization additionally points out that in some countries, the number of tourists is only counted at airports, while in others they are also counted at border crossings or even hotels. A comprehensive and reliable indication is therefore hardly possible in any country.

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