October is usually the beginning of high season in Ethiopia’s tourism industry, but thousands of visitors have already canceled their scheduled trips due to the protests and state of emergency.
The Ethiopian government in October declared a six-month state of emergency, during which anyone could be arrested without warrant.
In 2015, the European Council on Tourism and Trade named Ethiopia World’s Best Tourism Destination for its outstanding natural beauty, dramatic landscapes, and ancient culture.
Places like Rock churches (also known as ancient stone churches – pictured above) in the historical town of Lalibela, in northern Ethiopia, attract thousands of tourists every year, but not this year.
For many citizens of Lalibela who work as tour guides, this has greatly impacted their income.
“Because of this problems happening in some parts of the country, some just have already cancelled their trips to Ethiopia,” said Belayneh Mengesha, a local Lalibela tour guide.
Several tour operators have also reported about 50 percent decrease in business compared to last year.