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Ethiopia: Setting Sights On MICE

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When Ethiopia was named world’s best tourist destination by the European Council last July, the country seemed to be on the right path to beat East African tourism powerhouse

Prime Minster Hailemariam Dessalegn, who acknowledged the council for selecting his country as a phenomenal frontier in the tourism sector, also gave his commitment of boosting the tourism sector in the coming few years.

For many, the country is pushing forward towards the untapped resources of the tourism sector unlike any other time before. Nonetheless, the full potential of the industry is yet to be unleashed. According to Habteselassie Tafesse, founding father of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization, the full potential of Ethiopian tourism can be realized when a clear road-map and strategy is set up to attract all the stakeholders, especially those who have an international experience. The 91-year-old, who won the second Bikila Award in Toronto Canada a couple of weeks ago, has long been known as father of Ethiopian tourism for the unmatched personality he built in the sector.

Despite the towering legacy he left behind, his hope for the sector is yet to be realized as he still seeks to inspire people in the sector. He had long sought for tourism in Ethiopia to become a dependable resource that would dominate the GDP and benefit the people long before any other powerhouse in the country was about to commence with the concept. However, there is no paved road to maximize tourism’s 4.5 percent of GDP despite the World Bank’s calculated 10 percent increase in the number of tourists in the past decade. He is more positive this time as he sees more activities are being done to develop the sector, both by individuals and the government.

Amin Abdulkadir, former Minster of Culture and Tourism, recently said that the tourism sector is signaling a ray of hope, now more than any other time, as stakeholders are becoming leaders on the forefront. One of these rays is already brightening the hospitality sector. This September, the city opened its first Marriott Executive Apartments Hotel and an agreement on the construction of two more international hotel brands in Addis Ababa and Hawassa, a rising tourism spot in the Southern region.