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or Getnet, the data collected from Immigration Office is not even ideal for tourism purposes. “Mind you, this data is not primarily gathered for the purposes of estimating the flow of tourists; this would have serious shortcomings,” he argues. As matter of fat, Getnet is of the view that the massive flow of foreigners to Ethiopia across the boarders without using the official port of entry would have serious understating effect on the tourist flow estimates. Still some other studies estimate form the totality of tourist flow coming to Ethiopia at the very minimum 70-80 percent are entering to Ethiopia via airport.
The state minister, on the other hand, sees other benefits of using immigration data such as getting unified figure for the nation since it avoids double counting that might have arisen from sourcing the numbers from the dispersed tourist destinations or regional offices.
For Hickey, the clear discrepancy between the low-level of visitors at renowned historical sites and blotted official figures clearly attests to one thing that is the prominence of the growing number of Ethiopian Airlines transit passengers in the tourism statistics. Yet again, he is well aware that this is something that is made possible by the relaxed UNWTO definition of a “tourist”.
This very problem was spotted in an earlier World Bank report published in 2006: In Makeda’s Footsteps: Towards a Strategy for Pro-Poor Tourism Development. The report made important distinction about different categories of tourists like Leisure, Conference, Business, and the like. For the period ranging 2001-2005 it analyzed the tourist flow to find although leisure tourism was still highest contributor to total figure at about 30 percent both business and transit passenger figures were observed to be following closely at second position with 20 percent.