Ethiopia- US Tourism Promotion Event
Marked At the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington D.C,
/ By: Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington DC,
April 9, 2013/
A "Business to Business Meeting" designed at bolstering Ethiopian Tourism
Market in the US and engage American Tour Operators with their Ethiopian
counter-parts was held @ the premises of the Ethiopian Embassy here today, a
press release obtained from the Embassy stated.
The event is seen as an ideal venue for creating the necessary enabling
conducive environment for networking of enterprises deployed in the
hospitality industries of the two countries, according to the press release.
Mrs. Tadelech Dalecho, Ethiopian State Minister of Culture and Tourism, who
was on hand to declare this auspicious event opened, stated in her speech
that Ethiopia is endowed with diverse tourist attractions and great
varieties of land, climate, people, cultures and languages. "It is an
ancient nation with great diversity filled with rich historical, cultural,
and archaeological attractions, as well as numerous areas rich in wildlife",
The State Minister said on the occasion that Ethiopia is the cradle of
humanity where pre-historic tools dated as far back as six million years ago
were unearthed with Lucy (who is locally known as "Dinknesh"), as the most
remarkable of the numerous discoveries. Mrs Tadelech related that the 3.2
million years old skeleton of a female hominid i.e. Lucy that made its
maiden sojourn to the US as the first "oldest visitor" to America has
connected the American people with their human ancient ancestors.
The State Minister also referred that the country has the innate drive to
entice visitors with opportunities for tourism and put the feature of
religion ranking Ethiopia as the pioneer venue of the great ancient faiths.
She also said faith has served as a source of attraction among many natural
and manmade heritages and the rich fauna and flora endowed with enigmatic
and unique emblematic characteristics.
Referring to modern day current inflow of tourists
visiting Ethiopia she indicated that it has grown fourfold during the last
two decades. However, despite this growth and its huge potentials, the
contribution of the tourism sector to the country’s economic and social
development is yet very modest, she retorted.
Recognizing this challenge, the Ethiopian State Minister said that the
Ethiopian government has recently launched a new tourism development policy.
This policy underpins that the tourism sector as an engine of economic
growth and encourages the active participation of the private sector in the
development of the industry, she underlined.
The policy also posits the importance of securing the benefits of tourism to
the local communities that are custodians of the country’s diverse heritages
Mrs. Tadelech, emphasized.
Exuding her optimism the State Minister of Culture and Tourism said that
tourism development requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders –
including tour operators in the tourist generating countries.
Underlining her faith in the ongoing occasion Mrs. Tadelech expressed her
belief that the networking event will create a very good opportunity to
foster closer partnership and joint promotions between U.S. tour operators
and their Ethiopian counterparts. To this end, she assured the participants
of the commitment of the Ethiopian government to encourage and facilitate
such partnership, according to information highlighted in the release.
Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy, Ambassador Extra-ordinary and
Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the US, resident Ambassador to Canada and
Mexico in an earlier remark he delivered said that Ethiopia guarantees the
most politically stable environment in Africa, with very high levels of
In this regard the Special Envoy stated that during the past decade, it has
registered a double-digit economic growth, which positions it among the
fastest growing countries in the world. The Ambassador stated as a result
the tourism sector is already benefiting from this sustained growth and
rapid expansion of infrastructure.
While positively referring to the more than a century old people-to-people
relations between the two sisterly nations, recognized that the flow of
tourists from the U.S. to Ethiopia is very limited. Aware of this fact the
Special Envoy underlined that the Embassy has established a tourism advisory
council that will help develop strategies to promote tourism and increase
the flow of tourists.
He brought to the fore that working closely with the team, the Embassy has
identified, among others things, the need to establish a closer relationship
with prominent American Tourism Associations (such as NTA and SKAL) and has
been building on this relationship to connect Ethiopian Tour Operators with
their U.S. counterparts, he affirmed.
Ambassador Girma declared that "This event, organized in close collaboration
with the National Tour Association, is the product of the deliberations with
members of our advisory council. In line with this, the objective of today's
event is twofold. Our first objective is to highlight Ethiopia's immense -
yet untapped - tourism potentials to some of the key players in the U.S.
He went on to add that "The second, and for us, the most important objective
of the event is to create a networking forum where U.S. tour operators and
tourism professionals meet with their Ethiopian counterparts, to explore the
opportunities for a "business to business" partnership to promote tourism".
He further announced that more than fourteen Ethiopian tour operators have
availed themselves to join the event.
"Our next plan is to organize a similar event in Ethiopia in the coming few
months. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all of you here -
and specially the U.S. outbound tour operators - to participate on the
follow-up event, which will enable you, not only to have the opportunity to
meet with more Ethiopian tour operators, but also to have a first-hand
experience to witness the vast tourism potentials of the country" he
Mrs. Lisa Simon President of the National Tour Association /NTA/ made a
moving remark and expressed her confidence by stating that " We can build
bridges from North America to Ethiopia, bringing more visitors to learn
about your incredibly rich culture and your history that stretches back to
the beginnings of humankind". She further affirmed that much remains in
store by saying "this is just the start and we look forward to a mutually
There were other remarks made by American and Ethiopian representatives of
the sector. To high light the event an elaborate Ethiopian traditional
coffee ceremony was conducted. This enchanted the participants to appreciate
the ancient and traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony which among others has
long served as a get together social event, the Press Release underscored. A
photographic exhibition pertaining to the multifaceted features of Ethiopia
and a display of tourism posters were depicted on the occasion along with
two video shows featuring the rich and diverse culture, history, environment
and topography of Ethiopia , it was learnt.