27 January 2016

Ethiopia: Tourism Supporting Ethiopia's Economy

Currently, conference on tourism is coming into the spotlight around the globe. It's regarded as essential part of tourism that brings significant return. All countries of the world are making an effort to develop a conference industry and Ethiopia is no exception.

There is a strong and correlative relation between the national economy of the countries and business tourism. This sector promotes national industry, enhance communication channels and upgrade quality of manpower in different economic sectors such as agriculture, petroleum, communications, and education.

Business tourism is able to gain many economic fruits for the interest of the national economy. It is considered as a key driver of jobs generating large number of permanent and temporary employments in the field of events' supply chain, organization and management in addition to accompanied services.

Experts suggest that in order to develop a conference tourism, a state should approach international meetings and perform image marketing magnifying a nation's potential to conduct mega events. The state needs to create independent convention organization and establish an administration system to promote convention tourism. Meetings are big business in their own right, and play an important role in supporting other businesses. Meetings promote investment, trade, communications, and technology. Meetings bring education and professional development to the local community, creating jobs and retaining work forces. Events also benefit to showcase for local products and services.

Organizations have been looking for growth opportunities beyond their borders for decades. Outside the business rationale for growth, business went global because of ease of doing business, access to labour, return on investment, risk management, political stability, infrastructure, members demanding increased services banking regulations and access. It has the additional benefit of including an element of leisure tourism, in the form of delegates extending their stay after the event for leisure purposes.

Although Africa's global market share in the meeting industry stands at a little over 3 per cent, the reality is changing with more countries in the continent continue to attract major international meetings. Ethiopia is currently preparing to host MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition) which organized prominent groups and stakeholders around the globe. More than 500 international event organizers, travel agents, and destination management companies, hosted buyers, airlines, conference and hotels, international booking operators, professional conference organizers are expected to participate in the MICE Expo and Forum. Corporate and event planners, loyalty program innovators, government support authorities, travel and event planners and MICE business professionals will also come to the meeting scheduled to be conducted for three day forum starting March 17, 2016 at the United Nations conference hall. Currently MICE generates over a billion dollar annually.

Most such international meeting are held at the capital Addis Ababa; however, efforts are also underway to expand conference tourism to regional towns such as Adama, Bahir Dar, Hawassa and Bishofu so as to boost Ethiopia's income from the sector. Conference participants stay in Ethiopia for 6 days and spend 121 dollars daily on average for accommodation, shopping and other services. In 2011, Ethiopia earned over 39 million dollars from conference tourism.

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