Though Ethiopia was selected as the 2015 World Best Tourism Destination by the European Council on Tourism & Trade, for its contributions to the economy, the sector is nowhere near its full potential.
However, the country’s peculiar history, its diversity and stability are reasons behind its selection, dominating the news during the last quarter of Ethiopia’s fiscal year. Besides, the body that was established to transform the lagging tourism sector in the last fiscal year welcomed the first initiative to create a brand representing the nation. A South African company was hired in May 2015, to develop a marketing brand strategy at a cost of 200,000 dollars.
Positive prospects for growth were projected according to delegates of the third African Hotel Investment Forum, held in September 2014. The Ministry of Culture & Tourism, under the watchful eyes of Amin Abdulkadir, hotel grading and accreditation systems, launched during the year. Implementation became rather controversial. After almost four years of planning and consultations with the industry, the Ministry began the long-awaited hotel grading process.
A total of 136 hotels in Addis Abeba were registered, of which only 96 qualified to be rated. Addis Abeba now has three five-star, 11 four-star, 13 three-star, 10 two-star hotels and one with a one-star rating. The grading, financed by the World Bank (WB), cost 492,414 dollars. For the hotels, whether rated or not, the saga remains unfinished, as their managers had been given time to submit grievances.
The hospitality industry saw an increase both in the numbers of visitors, hotels and rooms. Close to 780,000 visitors were estimated to have arrived in Ethiopia last year, accommodated in 595 hotels, with 19,998 rooms and 24,978 beds. One major attraction was an international summit on financing development, held in July 2015, where over 6,000 delegates were accommodated in the city.
Close to 10 international hotel brands showed interest in starting business in Ethiopia, of which 60pc had reached deals with domestic developers, including Hyatt and Marriott.
Source: Addis Fortune