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Tourists and writers who have been to Ethiopia wonder why Ethiopia's tourism potential is still so little known. According to December 12,2002 edition of Our World, "Those who have discovered Ethiopia would probably like to keep the secret to themselves." In any case, the message is starting to filter through. Tourism in Ethiopia is growing slowly but surely.

The country has a lot to offer to tourists. Visitors will find landscapes comparable to its neighbouring countries, Kenya or Tanzania, and awe-inspiring historical sites and monuments similar to its other neighbour, Egypt. The highlands of Ethiopia have an attractive landscape, scenery and wildlife. In the African Rift Valley system, a wide variety of wildlife and numerous bird species, both endemic and common, are found and a substantial volume of traffic is directed to this area.

he magnificent Tis Issat Falls on the Blue Nile (Abay) river the endemic wildlife in Semien Mountains, the Sof Omar Cave in the south east are some of the interesting sites. The rock-hewn churches at Lalibela, the ancient buildings of Yeha and the obelisks at Axum, the medieval palaces at Gondar and the monasteries of Lake Tana, Debre Damo aand Debre Libanos are the main tourist attractions.

Given its unique cultural heritage, magnificent scenery, pleasant climate, rich flora and fauna, important archaeological sites, friendly and hospitable people and the recent growth in the inflow of tourists, Ethiopia's potential puts it among the leading tourist destinations in Africa. Tourism infrastructure, which is still inadequate, should be developed in order to cope with the growing traffic. There are, therefore, great opportunities for private investment in hotels, lodges and international restaurants.

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