Ethiopia: Excelling Successes in Hospitality Sector
Since sustainable peace and stability was secured in Ethiopia, the number of tourists visiting the country has been increasing. According to the recent information from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the interest of the international travellers to visit the country has also continued to grow in the second Growth and Transformation Plan. This would help the Ministry to realize its vision of making Ethiopia the top tourist destination by the 2020.
Besides, the prevailing peace and stability that has resulted in the growth of the flow of Foreign Direct Investment, Ethiopia is endowed with tremendous tourism opportunities and exclusive historical sites that attract the attention of tourists. This situation has reinforced the development of the hospitality sector.
The hospitality sector is a wide-ranging category in the service industry that includes accommodation, event planning, transportation, and the like within the tourism industry. The sector contributes considerable shares in the growing economy since it is a multi-billion-dollar industry that depends on both business and leisure travels.
Realizing the significance of the hospitality industry in the overall economic growth, the Ethiopian government has identified the sector as one of the priority areas that can the country to diversify its economic and improve services and quality standards.
Hence, in order to meet the demand of local and international travellers, the country began implementing tourism strategy and investing on franchise hotels and luxurious facilities. And the hotel industry continues to flourish due to the increase in the number of conference guests and tourists. As a result, the contribution of tourism to income revenue in Ethiopia's economy has increased over the last three years - from 17 billion birr in 2012 to 22.2 billion birr in 2014.
These days, a number of travellers check in with their own set of expectations to get services at hotels. Meeting these expectations is the key issue to getting people to return. Fine dining, entertainments, sports activities and spa treatments are the key services that determine the satisfaction of the customers.
Recently, in order to encourage the hospitality sector in improving the quality of those services, The Meetings, Incentives Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) East African International Forum and Expo 2016 and 4th Hotel Show Africa 2016 Hospitality and Tourism Investment Trade Show organized by Ozzie Hospitality and Business Group was opened at the Millennium Hall.
Explaining the role of the hospitality and tourism sector in the growing economy of the country, President Dr. Mulatu Teshome said that the sector is becoming one of the rewarding development pillars of countries' economies in the global arena.
"For this reason, our government has given due attention to the development of the sector. To exploit its amazing tourism potential, Ethiopia has committed to provide support to the private sector for the development of tourism and hospitality service," he added.
According to the President, since Ethiopia is the seat of the AU, UNECA, various international organizations and missions that made the country the ideal selection of international meetings, conferences and conventions, the demands of the customers are highly increasing. In order to meet the demands, the nation needs to have world class standard hotels and hospitality services. Accordingly, the government is working tirelessly to support private entities in the MICE industry as it has been doing in the manufacturing and other sectors, he said.
Culture and Tourism Minister Eng. Aisha Mohammed on her part said that hospitality business is a major business in the sector of tourism. According to her, since Ethiopia has tremendous tourism opportunities, several activities have been undertaken to develop the sector. In connection to this, the government has been designing feasible policies, expanding tourist facilities and providing support to the private sector, she added.
Explaining the purpose of the expo, Founder of Ozzie Hospitality and Business Group and Organizer of the event Kumneger Teketel also said that the grand event was organized to modernize the nature-based tourism and hospitality operation in Ethiopia and Africa to make the sector one of the dominant economic sectors and reliable source of foreign currency. According to him, encouraging the travellers to explore the hospitality business can help the nation to enhance its productivity through sharing experiences in the sector.
"As we run hotel and motel services far from Addis Ababa, the forum and expo would enable us to create links with the international visitors. It also helps us get best experiences from the various hotels gathered to show their services," Hawassa South Star Hotel Sales Representative Fistum Teshome.
In short, though the Ethiopian government has been carrying out significant activities in the hospitality sector and considerable results have been as a result, the contribution of the sector in the country's GDP is below the expected standard. In other words, even though the nation has tremendous tourism opportunities and exclusive historical sites, it has not fully utilized its potential. Thus, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has to carry out its duties in order to fully exploit the potential in the sector.