Ethiopian Airlines Mulling Flights to Hangzhou As 6th Chinese Destination

(file photo).

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia's national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) is mulling flights to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, has in recent years been known as an emerging technology hub and home to e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of ET, told Xinhua on Sunday the air carrier is mulling Hangzhou as its next destination as part of its plan to attract more Chinese tourists and business people.

Private investment from China to Ethiopia in 2017, up to September 5, has reached more than 680 million U.S. dollars, outpacing the entire 2016 figures of 560 million dollars.

China is the single largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ethiopia for the last several years, as Ethiopia bids to attract Chinese expertise and money for its industrialization ambitions.

Chinese tourists are also a rising demographics with the East African country attracting 41,660 Chinese tourists in 2015, a trend the Ethiopian government expects to grow in the coming years.

Ethiopia had earned 3.32 billion dollars from 886,897 tourists that visited the nation during the Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2016/17 that ended on July 8.

The country plans to earn 4.5 billion dollars from 1.2 million tourists during the 2017/18 Fiscal Year that started July 9.

Hangzhou however is not the only Chinese destination that Ethiopian Airlines is mulling starting flights to.

Gebremariam previously told Xinhua ET is considering flights to Shenzhen, a major innovation and entrepreneurship center, as another destination possibly bringing the number of flight destinations ET has to Chinese cities to seven in total.

Ethiopian Airlines currently flies to five destinations in China: Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

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