Rise in number of tourists from Oman to Ethiopia

Muscat: Ethiopia is becoming a popular destination for Omanis and the expatriate community in Oman, according to a senior official of Ethiopian Airlines in Muscat.

Fasiledes Castle KuoniSpeaking to the Times of Oman, Sami Muctar, country manager – Oman, Ethiopian Airlines, said that the number of visitors to Ethiopia is now growing by 10 per cent each year.

“Previously, some tour operators in Oman would not touch Ethiopia with a barge pole,” he said, and added, “With the introduction of direct flights from Muscat, things are changing.”

With more and more people visiting the country, Ethiopian Airlines at Muscat are planning to boost the market in Oman.

“We have launched an attractive package to Ethiopia and are processing Ethiopian visas at our local office in Ruwi,” he said.

While Omanis require a visa to travel to Ethiopia, Indians get a visa on arrival in this African country.  Last year around 10,000 people visited Ethiopia from Oman and this year, and Muctar believes that the numbers will rise by at least 10 per cent in 2015.

“Ethiopia’s landscapes are no less dramatic, and range from the Simien Mountains National Park and Bale Mountains National Park, which offer tremendous trekking opportunities and innumerable interactions with dozens of animals and birds, to the Danakil Depression in Northern Ethiopia, an enchanting yet unforgiving and hostile environment offering extreme adventure. The remote lowlands in the sultry southwest are also home to untold adventures and house some of Africa’s most fascinating tribes,” he said.

Besides these, Ethiopia has a proud history which can be traced to the beginning of mankind.

“It is also a place where a live volcano is witnessed in Dallol, the lowest and the hottest place on earth,” he added.

Muctar also said that besides Ethiopia, they are looking at tourists who are eyeing Kenya and Tanzania which are famous for their safaris and wildlife.

“This is simply because we have excellent connectivity to almost all major cities in Africa. It is also a proud member of Star Alliance, and is currently the largest and most popular airline in Africa covering over 80 destinations across the globe. It flies to Washington, Toronto, Sao Paulo, London, Beijing, Muscat and almost all major African cities and 17 cities inside Ethiopia,” he added.

The East African country has been included as “the most emerging destination in 2015” by famous travel agency, Kuoni Travels.

The company was founded in 1906 by entrepreneur Alfred Kuoni in Zurich, Switzerland, and in 2013, the Kuoni Group was named the “World’s leading luxury tour operator” at the annual World Travel Awards.

Kuoni’s trips feature Lalibela, the low-key capital Addis Ababa, the towns of Gondar and Bahir Dar, the Bale Mountains National Park and the Simien Mountains National Park.

Source: Times of Oman