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RELIGIOUS RITUALS AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN ETHIOPIA: EXPERIENCE FROM GONDOR TOWN [Abstract ID: 1212-06]
The objective of this work is to explore the potential of religious rituals and practices for tourism in the case of Gondor town. This is a qualitative research and uses direct observation, interview and secondary sources as a data. Ethiopia is a land of nations, nationalities and people and its people share several religious and cultural values. In relation to this, the contribution of different religions practices and celebrations for tourism is paramount. There are several religions in Ethiopia. All can be categorized under traditional religions on one side and Abrahamic religions on the other side. Sources indicate that these religious values contribute a lot for the development of tourism. In Ethiopia however, this value is not given the attention it deserves. This article tries to relate religious rituals and practices with tourism. The town of Gondor is known for harboring the three Abrahamic religions: Jewish, Christian and Islam together. There are several holy places in the town with religious and tourism implications. However, such religious practices and place are not well documented and contribute to tourism development. With the exception of epiphany, celebrated colorfully, other religious celebrations of different religions are not well documented and used for tourism. In particular, Islamic heritages and celebrations are not give due attention. In addition, the contributions of other cultural and religious values to tourism need to be explored in depth. The contribution of these cultural and religious values for peace building and mutual respect and economic growth is huge.