Apart from strengthening diplomatic ties and promoting trade between two nations, Leo Varadkar's meeting with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde followed by Hirut Kassaw, Minister for Culture and Tourism emerged to be highly beneficial for the tourism sector. He also visited Lalibela UNESCO World Heritage Site and announced a new cultural heritage tourism partnership between Ethiopia and Ireland.
"Following my visit to the Lalibela UNESCO World Heritage site today, I am delighted to announce a new partnership between Ethiopia and Ireland in cultural heritage tourism," Ireland's PM Leo Varadkar said.
The new partnership will consist of a series of exchanges and experience sharing between Irish and Ethiopian institutions, focused on cultural heritage tourism and rural job creation through tourism. He further elucidated that Hirut Kassaw will visit Ireland this spring to meet with relevant tourism and cultural heritage bodies in Ireland, including Failte Ireland and OPW, and finalize a program of experience sharing between Ireland and Ethiopia. This new program will deepen the partnership in 2019 and 2020 in an area that is vital for Ethiopia's economic growth and job creation targets, Addis Standard noted.
Ireland's PM has given assurance to participate in the effort of rescuing the endangered Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches using the country's experience. The two countries are expected to sign a three years' cooperation roadmap in Dublin in May this year.
Ireland, like Ethiopia, is home to ancient UNESCO heritage sites, some of which date back to 3200 BC. The North Atlantic island has developed effective tourism strategies to ensure that these heritage sites, and the rich histories behind them, are made accessible to a wide audience, while also safeguarding and protecting these sites, the statement from the embassy of Ireland in Ethiopia's capital city Addis Abeba noted.