Overflowing zest, spirited resolve and pragmatic confidence clearly sum up, tourism students on ‘Tourism Week’ finale at Paradise Lodge which has all putting their best foot forward to conjure up a spectacular event that left everyone mesmerized.

‘Tourism Week’, hosted by the College of Business and Economics’ Tourism Department at Chamo Campus got off to a roaring start from 27th to 29th December.

The cultural carnival began with its students draped in gorgeous cultural attires, danced all the way from Chamo Campus to Secha Square via Bekele Mola Highway, reiterating the theme of the event, ‘Tourism for all.’

The finale of Mr & Ms Tourism of AMU and Mr & Ms Mock Rock Tourism contests proved to be an icing on the cake as it was organized with an utmost precision; participants showing professional traits set the ramp on fire.

In male and female category, Eyob and Zayda won the Beauty contest. Haymanot and Raswork, Elsa and Fasika were the first and second runner ups. Mock Rock saw Makda and Ashanafi bagging the crown, while Tiringu and Yosef; Chombe and Lidia were adjudged second and third respectively.

The first day evening saw, beginning of Beauty and Mock Rock contests, where both male and female students in their choicest costumes cat-walked amid the deafening applause. Especially, Mock Rock, where male and female students impersonated each other regaled the audience.

Inaugurating the event, Dean of College of Business and Economics, Dr Solomon Markos, said, ‘‘Ethiopian government committed to revive the tourism industry of late has constituted a Council which is headed by the Prime Minister. So, the bright future is awaiting us and in the last five years many universities introducing tourism course make its future more vibrant.

However, despite good heritage and flora and fauna, tourism sector contributes meager 10 per cent to nation’s GDP. Monopoly of the tour operators from Addis Ababa makes the scenario worst which leave the local community in the lurch. Therefore, through Strong-bow project, AMU will tap tourism potential in this region; wherein disadvantaged women stand good opportunity.’’

In the evening, students have recreated the cultural rainbow mirroring the innate traditional ethos including vocals and typical dances of Gamo Gofa, Amhara, Sidama, Oromia, Tigray, Hadia, Gurage, Kambata, Siltie, Gambela and other regions and zones.

Next morning students took part in mini marathon, sporting T-shirt with inscribed theme ‘Tourism for all.’ Later, a panel discussion was held in which, Dr Solomon, Tourism department head, Mr Henock, Esayas Alemu and representative from Arba Minch Tourism office deliberated on the role of stakeholders for sustainable tourism development in Arba Minch.

Basically, the event being an annual feature, is the practical component of the curriculum of Third year’s tourism students called – MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) is a practical evaluation mechanism,’’ said, Mr Esayas Alemu.

This event exposes Tourism students to various organizing skills i.e. conference, exhibition, festival, carnivals, sport festival and how to organize beauty contest, mimicry, mini Olympics, marathon and campus punch etc.

Interviews evaluating the talents of beauty contestants were held. Idol contest had vocal presentations, traditional, contemporary and modern dance performances, food fighting contest and lottery games. A move is afoot to introduce and club the Hotel Management program with the tourism to make it more comprehensive and relevant.

The advisor and organizer of the event, Mr Esayas Alemu put in painstaking efforts to make it a success. Paradise Lodge owner, Mr Eyasu, and manager, Mr Girma, facilitated the required logistics and sponsored the prizes for the winners. Gamo Gofa Zone Culture Tourism and Government Communication Bureau, Arba Minch Town Administration Branch and Abyssinia Bank also contributed financial aid.

The event was conducted by 3rd year Psychology student Gitachun and 3rd year English language student Helen.

By Philips Joseph