August 20, 2005
Ethiopia: 13 months of sunshine - and torrential rain
It is misleading because it is simply untrue. We are now right in the middle of the long rainy season. This year, the rains started early towards the end of June and could still be around past the end of September. That is more than three months of the total 13 - and we are not even counting the mini rains that fall earlier in the year. I actually quite like this season. The countryside turns fluorescent green, the air is fresher and the farmers get to grow their crops. But sunny it is not. A more accurate slogan would be: "Ethiopia: Up to ten months of sunshine and at least three of window-shaking thunder, fast-flowing muddy water and bright patches."
It is misguided because 13 is one of the most cursed numbers you can think of - at least in the western cultures that are most likely to produce tourists. It is considered unlucky in scores of countries. (Not sure why - something to do with the Norse god Thor inviting 13 people round for dinner then murdering them all, or was it Judas being the 13th guest at the Last Supper?) I know all this talk of the 13th month is supposed to remind people of Ethiopia's unusual calendar (Ethiopia has 13 months, it is still 1997 and 7 o'clock is actually 1 o'clock.) But that is the last thing that prospective tourists from Europe or the US will think about. The number 13 on a poster is much more likely to make them unconsciously want to stay away, cross their fingers, touch wood and avoid ladders.
It should be easy to think of an alternative - something as striking and simple as "Malaysia: Truly Asia" or "Visit Britain". How about "Ethiopia:" combined with any one of the following - "The 8th Wonder of the World", "The land that created coffee" or "The birthplace of mankind". All other suggestions welcome.
Posted by aheavens at August 20, 2005 11:21 AM