Two Ethiopian tourist attractions have been declared World Heritage Sites at the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday inscribed the Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia as a World Heritage Site.
Bale Mountains National Park is located in southeastern Ethiopia, about 400 km from the national capital, Addis Ababa. It was inscribed as one of the natural heritages of humanity at the 45th enlarged session of the World Heritage Committee being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to the Ethiopian state news agency.
Founded in 1962, the park is home to lakes, wetlands and volcanic remnants with spectacular scenery, making it one of the ideal tourist destinations, says the Ethiopian Ministry of Tourism. It is also endowed with several species of plants, mammals and birds, among which many are said to be endemic to the park.
Bale Mountains National Park is the second Ethiopian tourist attraction to be granted world heritage status at the 45th enlarged session of the World Heritage Committee.
The previous day, UNESCO inscribed Ethiopia's Gedeo Cultural Landscape as a world heritage site. The site comprises a forest that has been protected over generations.
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Tourism, the heritage site is also known for its multi-layered cultivation, practiced for centuries by the Gedeo people, who are also exemplary for their indigenous knowledge of ecosystem conservation and soil fertility. It also has more than 6,000 megalithic stelae with images attractive to foreign and local researchers and visitors.
The Ethiopian government stated that the inscription of the two sites as world heritage sites by UNESCO is expected to help strengthen Ethiopia's tourism development efforts. It also recognized its crucial role in the proper protection of the two heritage sites.