By Daniel Tiruneh /ABN/
Born and grew up in Addis Ababa, Henok Seyoum has been working on the promotion of Ethiopian tourism potential through various media and communication channels, including TV, online , radio and magazine productions. He has received different awards for his splendid contribution to the nation’s tourism contribution. Daniel Tiruneh holds a telephone conversation with Henok to present 10 questions.
ABN: How did you begin your business in tourism promotion and travel media?
Henok ;I am a journalist, a profession I like so much. I used to produce a radio program called ‘Hibir’, a documentary featuring Ethiopian cultural values and life styles of various nations and nationalities on Radio Fana. I lately understood that this program should be made in amore wider and detail manner. I was highly motivated to establish a company that I can manage, and finally I established ‘Hagere Media and Communications’. This company is simply established to become communication center for Ethiopian tourism, and contribute its share to improve the media and communication activity on tourism industry. I and my friends have done significant jobs on Ethiopian tourism for the last twelve years.
ABN: What are your media or communication products?
Henok ; We have begun with a quarterly magazine entitled ‘Tuba’, focusing on tourism and cultural development; this magazine centered mainly on cultural values, tourist destinations, benefits obtained from tourism activities and related issues. We then moved to produce other print materials. For instance, we managed to publish Gondar City tourism directory in Amharic and English. We also published the tourism directory for the untold tourist potential of South Gondar Zone, and similar publication for North Shewa Zone, neighboring Addis Ababa.
To mention other products of our company: Ethiopian museum directory, Ethiopian major events and festival directory, parks and natural attractions directory, Children tourism book on Gondar and Konso tourism potential. Currently I’m engaged in producing a show under the title ‘Guzo Ethiopia’ via Fana TV.
ABN: Do you think you’re making good business?
Henok ; We participate in various activities; we don’t view ourselves as business firm
only; still the going gets tough and the tough gets going. I am personally proud of repeatedly organizing national festivals like the Gondar Festival in January, Konso and Gofa festivals.
“I’m dreaming of establishing a television station that mirrors and tells my country’s untapped, unspoiled, exotic and stunning beauty of natural, cultural and historical attractions to the world.”
ABN: What impact did your job bring about?
Henok ; Our job has undoubtedly brought about remarkable changes in the nation’s tourism and hospitality business. Small towns are now having quality and standard hotels. Higher education institutions have begun producing highly skilled power. Hopefully I will keep on going. After the introduction of the overall political and socio-economic reform nationwide, Ethiopian Prime Minister has shown light saying the country’s tourism is the backbone of the economy; the government is also showing commitment to appointing skilled professionals in various tourism offices. But the recent chaos and unrest in some part of the country is becoming my headache.
ABN: Do you have plans to engage in other businesses?
Henok ; I never think of having another business except this. I’m anticipating reading and writing on travel, and share my experience to the generation as long as I get sufficient amount of money and time. I am not born business person.
ABN: Tell us about ‘Hagere Family’.
Henok ; We are now ten in Hagere family. The number has sometimes gone up; the peace and stability across the country has compelled us to depart from our colleagues in Gondar and Hawassa. But now we see light at the end of the tunnel, and the number will increase.
ABN: What exactly are you doing at present?
Henok ; Currently, I’m an Ethiopian tour and travel journalist, serving as editor-in-chief of a regular magazine. I also work as a freelance writer for the Amharic magazine-‘Fitih”, dealing with issues like tourism, culture and nature. Moreover, I write on travel memoire for Dire tube that has 3 million followers and have written a book depicting my travel experience, and personal reflection on reading. “የመንገድ በረከት” and “ጎንደርን ፍለጋ” are worth mentioning. I have dedicated my childhood to Ethiopian tourism. I’m now addicted to tourism; no one can get me out of tourism. Where can I get to? I don’t mind having prestige or not. I’m happy as I am thoroughly familiar the ins-and-outs of my country. I’m the one who freely move everywhere during chaotic and unstable condition. I’m proud of being an Ethiopian. I hope one day everything I’m dreaming of will come true.
ABN: What honors or awards have you received?
Henok ; I have received a National Green Award in radio journalism category; I also received Best Tourism Journalist Award of Hotel Show Africa last year. I really prefer and give more value for this award as Hotel Show Africa is led by professionals in the field like Kumneger Teketel. Moreover, Adwa Historical and Heritage Union, based-in Dallas Texas, USA awarded me Role Model Award this year. That’s enough. It’s no big deal!
ABN: What do you do during your spare time?
Henok ; The product of this modern era-internet has now become my everything. I do my living by releasing information from wherever I am.
ABN: Where do you want to see yourself in the next five or ten years?
Henok ; I’m dreaming of establishing a television station that mirrors and tells my country’s untapped, unspoiled, exotic and stunning beauty of natural, cultural and historical attractions to the world.