18 June 2017

Ethiopia: Int'l Brand, Diaspora's Hotels Investment On Rise

Owing to the sound Diaspora policy, government's incentives, sustainable peace and security, ever growing tourism flow, among others, international brand and Diaspora involvement in hotel business in the country have shown a marked rise, according to Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Ministry Diaspora Coordination Office Head Muluneh Mathios told The Ethiopian Herald that members of Ethiopian Diaspora investment in hospitality industry have been steadily growing. However, their engagement in such business varies from state to state.

He noted that Diaspora led-investments into the domestic economies surge 50 per cent annually.

According to him, currently, a large number of Diaspora communities are actively engaging in hotel construction at various tourist destinations of the states. "They have so far created over 50,000 permanent and temporary jobs across the country."

Pointing out the attributing factors for the active Diaspora involvement in the national development, Muluneh said Diaspora policy, government's incentives, peace and security, existence of affordable labor, among others are mentionable.

Moreover, the rapid double digit economic growth for over one decade has contributed to the current national tourism development in every state, he said.

As to government's incentives, the Office Head indicated that Diaspora communities will be allowed to import tax free goods and construction materials when they plan to build star- rated hotels.

Accordingly, there are some 168 star-rated hotels in the country. Among over 600 hotels, 450 of them have been constructed by Diaspora communities.

Lack of skilled man power, access to land, bureaucratic red tape, frequent power outage and internet interruption are some of the challenges that have been hindering the sector's development, he stressed.

The hospitality industry has been growing at a promising pace due to the ongoing hotels investment and increment in tourist inflow, according to the ministry.

Addis Ababa Hotel Owners Association President Biniam Bistrat for his part said over the last five years, five brand hotels have been opened. About 100 local and global international star- rated hotels are also in the pipeline to go operational in the next five years. Nowadays, there are 106 star- rated hotels in Addis Ababa alone.

Catering and Tourism Training Institute (CTTI) Public and International Relations Directorate Director Dr. Kibrework Lemma said the tourism sector has been growing fast. Hence, to cope up with the growing demand of skilled man power in the sector, the institute has offered various customers service ,hospitality trainings at both diploma and degree levels .

The Institute is graduating up to 1,500 professionals annually. Currently, some 2,347 trainees are pursuing their studies at the institute. Moreover, to transfer the institute in to university college level, efforts are underway, she said.

However, the institute cannot address all the needs of trained professionals at this stage. But efforts are being carried out to curb lack of professionals in collaboration with States' TEVT, she said.

"The sector needs huge skilled human power as a research conducted by the institute revealed that only 23 percent of hotel employees are professionals," she noted.

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