Coronavirus and civil war spell trouble for tourism in Ethiopia’s holy town of Lalibela

Ethiopia’s top tourist destination is hoping to welcome back visitors, after Covid battered the sector and conflict left hotels and businesses in ruins, reports Fred Harter

Thursday 10 February 2022 14:36
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<p>The ransacked terminal of Lalibela airport in northern Ethiopia, 7 December 2021</p>

The ransacked terminal of Lalibela airport in northern Ethiopia, 7 December 2021

In better times, the cobbled streets of Lalibela in northern Ethiopia hummed with foreign tourists drawn to its ancient rock-hewn churches. Today, there are none.

The historic town has been emptied of sightseers by the coronavirus pandemic and civil war, and it is young men carrying rifles, rather than tourists, who now loiter outside local souvenir shops.

“It has been very difficult,” says Addis Solomon, 36, who owns a weaving shop selling scarves and other fabrics in the centre of Lalibela.

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