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Ethiopia: Untold stories of a country's tourism possibilities

Tigrai Online
March 19, 2012

Ethiopian Toursim Possibilities - Tigrai OnlineReport of Ruth Olurounbi who just back from Addis Ababa on how the Ethiopian government plans to lead other African nations in tourism.

IN order to promote the growing tourism industry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the trio of Ethiopian Airline, owned 100 per cent by the Ethiopian government, the Ethopian embassy in Nigeria and the Boston Partners Plc, owners of leading resorts and spa business in the country, teamed up to give Nigerian tour operators and travel agents a six-day familiarisation tour into the heart of a country, which had otherwise been labelled as famine-ravaged.

A cultural tour through the cities and villages of Ethiopia revealed refreshing abundance of natural, historical and cultural resources, which add up to its tourist attraction. That Ethiopia was once known as a country ravaged by famine, it was refreshing to notice green lands in an otherwise desert land, thanks to massive and beautiful lakes in the country, which serve as source of water for irrigation system of farming. Through the irrigation system for its agriculture, Ethiopia has been able to provide food for its country people, without having to depend so much on importation of food from other country, a government official said.

Being the only African country that was not colonised by the West, not for the wont of trying by the latter, Ethiopia has had its share of ups and downs but now, it is time to move on.

In a bold move, the country, in the last few years, looked within and found something else to market to the world, apart from its national carrier, the Ethiopian Airlines, which has been generating revenue for it in the last 65 years. Now, for Ethiopia, it was time for its tourism industry to complement the airline’s efforts.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the country had launched a massive campaign in Europe, Asia, and some parts of the African continent to promote the country’s growing tourism industry.

The outcome of the campaign had been very impressive, the ministry attested, saying with the distinct advantage of being the political base of Africa, the country’s tourism industry had received a boost, as far as conference tourism was concerned, but not so much on leisure tourism.

The Director, Marketing and Development in the ministry, Mr Ayele Gelaneh, said that leisure was big on the country’s touristic menu it packaged to offer the world, which unfortunately, had not been known much, especially in Africa. This is why, according to Gelaneh, Ethiopia, through its airlines and its embassy in joint partnership with a private leisure business owner in the country, the president and chief executive officer of Boston Partners Plc, Mr Tadiwos Belete, invited Nigerian tour operators, travel agents and other stakeholders in travel business in Nigeria to a six-day tour of the country’s “beautiful, natural, historical and cultural attractions,” with the view of showcasing the tourism potential of Ethiopia, aimed at enhancing inflow of tourists between the two countries.

Speaking on security, Gelaneh said last week during a chat with journalists at Kuriftu Resorts and Spa, Debre-Zeit that Ethiopia was safe for tourists, adding that the country “is very conducive for local and international investors who are interested in doing business in Ethiopia. The country is free to people all over the country and I would want you all to regard Ethiopia as your homes.”

The director said the country was appreciative of the influx of African conference tourists on its soil disclosing that the country was focusing its attention on attracting leisure tourists in the world, especially Africa, to “come and enjoy our diverse natural tourist attractions.”

Source, Nigerian Tribune, by Ruth Oluronbi, Read More

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