ABN Give briefs on Addis Ababa tourism &share of national tourism?
Sileshi Well, tourism development mainly focuses on heritages, attractions& activities available in destinations. So far, though most of the world heritage sites exist in rural Ethiopia, yet the city of Addis Ababa has a significant share of Ethiopian tourism. Addis Ababa is a city of surprises featured by good weather, historical places, museums, architecture, colourful diversity and contrasts of people.
Service, particularly tourism has become the back bone of the economy in the city. In the past years, there have been remarkable interventions & efforts from both the federal government and city administration in developing new tourism destinations. Foreign & domestic visitors and receipts have shown dramatic increments. In result, above 70% of tourists coming in to Ethiopia are also estimated to visit or pass through Addis Ababa for different purposes.
ABN What attracts visitors to Addis?
Sileshi Addis Ababa is rich in cultural and historical tourist attractions. Hospitality of the people & these features attract people and contribute much to the overall experience of visitors. Some of the reasons for travel by foreign & locals include;
- Public parks
- Art galleries & studios
- Cafés – traditional coffee in coffee houses, bars and restaurants
- Dinning – Traditional food & drinks, foreign dishes in major hotels.
- Religious sites – Churches, Mosques…
- Spa & wellness services
- Music – traditional restaurants and disco clubs
- Shopping- in Merkato/Africa’s largest open air market/, souvenir shops, craft centres/
- Bike & Hike in streets of the city
- Camping in the surrounding mountains
- Historic places, Monuments & Statues
Fashion – Ethiopian designers combine the old with the new & exhibit creative works.
Sports & events – Such as the 10000m Great Ethiopian run attract a number of prominent runners and it’s the most exiting race in the world in sports.
According to CNN Travel, in testimony of these features Philip Briggs stated that “Perhaps the highest praise one can direct at Addis Ababa does feel exactly as the Ethiopia capital should feel — singularly and unmistakably Ethiopian”.
ABN Do you have a roadmap for Addis Ababa tourism or tourism in cities?
Sileshi The Government of Ethiopia Tourism has designated tourism a priority growth sector. We have national tourism marketing Strategy, which is essential and positive step forward in directing Tourism Ethiopia’s marketing efforts and supports our vision of ranking Addis Ababa among the top five cities visited in Africa. Besides, we have crafted MICE tourism strategy and set a vision to see Addis Ababa to be one of the top 3 Africa’s meeting destination of choice by 2030.
ABN What are the competitive grounds tofocus on MICE /Meetings, Incentives, Convention & Exhibitions/?
Sileshi Like I said Addis has a glorious weather. Most importantly, the city is a major international and continental airline hub and gateway to Ethiopia and Africa. Moreover, taking advantage of the fact that MICE in the globe is growing at a faster pace than leisure tourism, the goal is to increase the number of delegates and exhibition participants coming into the country and Addis Ababa is wise.
Addis Ababa today has the major facilities and elements to develop MICE Tourism. For instance, hotels with conference facilities, air connectivity, good weather, ECA, Millennium hall, the upcoming Addis Africa convention centre, and experienced event planners ready to host MICE.
Above all, the city being headquarter for AU and the leading diplomatic city in Africa evidence its enormous tourism potential for MICE. So, that’s why we name Addis Ababa as Meeting Capital of Africa.
National museum, Entoto tourism, upcoming Adwa culture center, opening of the national palace for visitors, and the giant shopping facility development at Legehar are also additional competitive grounds to convert conference attendants in to leisure tourists during spare times.
ABN Any of the developments from tourism Ethiopia to put MICE vision in to action in Addis Ababa?
Sileshi In tourism Ethiopia, we have established Ethiopian Convention Bureau /ECB/ and assign dedicated expertise & management. The mission of the bureau is to increase global awareness of Ethiopia as a competitive MICE destination, and in so doing secure an increased share of regional and international MICE business, thus growing economic impact to Ethiopia for the benefit of our stakeholder communities. The bureau also offers impartial advice, guidance and support to international meeting and event planners / buyers through every stage of planning. We are having a technical assistance from WB/IFC, event organizing associations & ECA. So far we have achieved the MICE Ethiopia brand development and preparation of meeting planners guide. In whole this thinking Addis Ababa is at the centre and a primary market to pull meetings & exhibitions.
ABN What are the opportunities beyond tourism to invest in the city?
Sileshi The city has huge investment opportunities. In each of the sub-cities investors can take part in tourism related infrastructure & facility developments; such as opening of tourism schools, transportation, souvenir shops, Greening & recycling, import and export trade, technology, MICE, Arts, entertainment, tour operation, hotel business, and other segments of tourism investments.
ABN If you want to invite people to visit Addis Ababa city.
Sileshi Visitors can marvel at Unity park, Entoto hills, the historical buildings, monuments, churches and mosques in the city seeing as they all symbolize not only the age-old multilateral relations cemented between Ethiopia and the rest of the world but also the colourful power of unity among nations when they get together to bring about long-standing positive impacts on mind-sets and actions of humanity.
Remember, there is a conviction that visiting Addis Ababa is worth, thereby appreciating the extraordinary cultural, linguistic and ideological diversity and peaceful coexistence of Ethiopians, Africans and other nations by the guests of the city is most welcomed.
I cordially invite everyone to visit Addis,to visit every part of Ethiopia, the Land of Origins.