The nation's hospitality and tourism is one of the promising industry sectors particularly in creating immense employment opportunities. But,some investors claimed that the nation has not tapped into this potential for various reasons yet.
For example, the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) aspires to earn six billion USD from hotel and tourism industries attracting 2.1 million tourists to Ethiopia by 2020. Therefore, expanding tourist destinations and promotion activities as well as looking for solicitations and funding opportunities for the tourism development and cultural and natural heritage protection and preservation are the priorities in this regard.
Konjit Ayele, a member of Ethiopian Diaspora community, engages in hospitality industry. She says: "This country's history spans over 3,000 years and has huge and magnificent cultural, linguistic, religious and natural tourist attractions. But, the hotels that are functioning enough are insignificant when compared to an influx of tourists to the country."
She, hence, agrees completely with those who call for unleashing the tourism potentials of the country.
She says : " Look, these-days tourism conference is rapidly growing worldwide including here in Addis. But, imagine that the influx of tourists for such purpose will get bigger and bigger taking into accounts our capital being the home of many international organizations. Do we have now the capacity to host grand conferences and events using the available hotel infrastructure in the country ? I do not think so."
For Getahun Hotel Managing Director Lily Getahun, to succeed in hospitality and tourism industries , someone needs good promotion, better market and exposure. "As it is one of the emerging sectors in the country, you expect tough competition in running hotel and tourism businesses. The sector also needs well-qualified and devoted management and employees."
As to her, many workers join the hospitality industry every year, however, many of them are incompetent . For instance, when the senior staff get promotion , newcomers need to be hired with a view to filling open position . But, due to labor scarcity and lack of seasoned hoteliers ,those who are promoted are forced to do two more jobs at once, she adds.
In truth, some capable hospitality and tourism graduates often complain about the qualifications on a job application as most hoteliers wish to recruit experienced workers.
Asked whether the complain is based on fact or not, Lily says : " Our hotel often employ fresh graduates and job training will be offered to them in due course. But other five- star hotels don't want to employ fresh graduates because the service needs more experienced ones."
She also says customer satisfaction in the hospitality industry is a must and so it needs very welcoming workers plus the professional knowledge and experiences.
As there are about 20 colleges and 30 universities which offer trainings to students in hospitality and tourism , thousands graduate annually and join the labor market.
For Konjit , graduating thousands annually is not good enough for the ever growing demand of hospitality workers " When the seniors are promoted, the new ones have to be employed and most fresh graduates have earned certificates, diplomas or degrees in food and beverage studies ,therefore, the ever increasing standardized restaurants will take over the graduates ."
Currently, over 130 standardized hotels are found here in the capital and its environs.
Regarding the roles of hotels in creating market chain to the agricultural sector, Konjit notes that the nation has immense potentials in this end, but the products should be produced qualitatively.