By Muhyadin Yussuf Cade
Worldwide, tourism and its related services are one of the most alternative sources of income and employment opportunities for people living in countries with potential tourism sites and resources. tourism industry offers the opportunity to lessen the country’s dependence on natural resources, if properly harnessed. Therefore, Tourism is one of the major areas where Somaliland planned to master some financial strength by generating 10% increase of revenue by the end of 2021.
According to the Somaliland National Development plan II (2017-2021), Somaliland has many tourist resources which are operating below the intended capacity while it is the fastest growing economic driver for every other country in the world. The plan mentions the country’s tourism industry contributed zero percent to both GDP and the total employment. Although country’s tourist resources are under-utilized, however, some sites like Laas-geel archaeological site has attracted a great number of international travelers and travel media institutions but no official record and statistics are in place. This shows that there are functioning opportunities employed within the country’s tourism industry include employment by hotels, travel agents. Airlines, logistic companies as well as activities of the restaurants and leisure industries directly supported by tourist and other passenger services.
Apart from the tourism’s zero contribution to the GDP, the country’s 2030 vision identified tourism as one of the seven priority areas under the its economic agenda which are critical for unlocking the potential economic growth of the country. The tourism is the third priority economic pillar and comes after the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries as the first priority while the trade and financial services is the second. By the year of 2021, the government envisioned to increase the contribution of tourism activities into the GDP by 10%. Over the course of 4 years the government expects to increase tourism proportion in GDP by rising the figure from 0% to 2%. The number of jobs created under the tourism industry is also expected to increase the proportion of tourism contribution into the total employment from 0% to 2%. The NDP II proposed three priority interventions in order to achieve the targets to indicate that the governments is committed to diversify the nation’s revenue base and preparing the tourism sector to generate more earnings.
All in all, there is a need for the government to do more in terms of tourism awareness in Somaliland and promote it as a travel destination. For instance, destination marketing initiative can strengthen the industry’s revenue and create long lasting employment opportunities for young people in the country.