Addis Ababa December 31/2020 (ENA) Providing significant incentives for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry would enable Ethiopia to accelerate its economy, according to African Trade Fair Partners.
African Trade Fair Partners and Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations have jointly held today a half-day panel discussion on changes and prospects of trade promotion in times of COVID-19.
African Trade Fair Partners Managing Director Aklile Belete told ENA on the sidelines that Ethiopia needs to give special incentives for MICE, especially for exhibitions and trade fair activities.
Noting that MICE industry is a new concept and version for the Ethiopian market introduced just seven years ago, he urged the government to understand the industry’s impact on the national economy and job creation.
The International Congress Convention Association report states that global business event spending has jumped over one trillion USD, whereas African business event spending was more than 23 billion USD in 2019 alone.
Ethiopia’s business event spending is low, even if the country is the main gate of Africa and strategically located to the Gulf and other continents, the managing director stated.
It is therefore vital to harness MICE tourism potential, mainly in trade fair and exhibition, he added.
“The most important thing is the paradigm shift that should be done in this country. The government has to understand that MICE industry’s impact on the national economy and job creation,” Aklile stressed.
He suggested that the government provides industry players with duty free privileges to import exhibition or event related materials and technologies.
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19, the managing director said the pandemic has shaken MICE activities in general and the country was forced to cancel all exhibitions and trade fairs since the virus broke out.
According to him, Ethiopia has, for instance, 700 registered events/exhibition companies and 12 companies have alone lost 3 million USD due to COVID-19.
He also said countries are investing more in the MICE industry and the Government of Ethiopia is exerting efforts to promote the industry.
The construction of the Addis Africa International Convention and Exhibition Center (AAICEC), which is expected to contribute a lot for trade-fairs and exhibitions, is well underway, it was learned.