8 June 2018

Ethiopia: E-Visa Services to All - How About Risks?

Photo: Google

Ethiopia has put in place online visa services effective as of this June making travel to the country easy and accessible to all visitors and tourists.

The service previously allowed visitors and tourists from 37 tourist generating nations to enter into the country via Addis Ababa. This one has, however, permits visitors from across the globe to wipe their Smartphone and get e-visa.

To most stakeholders, the advantages of the scheme go without saying but they do not shy away from mentioning its potential disadvantages relating it to security.

The service expansion is basically needed to access the services to international visitors at their convenience, as to Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs, Communication Director Sileshi Demissie.

"Eligible visitors get done with the visa process online and will receive e-visa upon arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport only for the sake of avoiding any possible security threat."

Above and beyond, the assessment and practice that has been in effect over the last 18 months has proven the system's reliability, he adds.

Wealth of international experiences is also available with regards to electronic travel authorization, he notes, explaining as Ethiopia has emulated them well.

But to fill potential security rifts, the e-visa are offered to leisure and conference tourists, he added.

"We will do the highest security checks. The online issuing process has its own security care procedures. It has check point online and on land."

By the same token, he says, once the online application is accepted, applicants will receive an email authorizing them to travel to Ethiopia and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa.

Hailing the new system as a national initiative which transforms the tourism sector in the country, Ethiopian Tourism Organization Public Relations and Communication Director, Getinet Yigzaw, cast his hope it could spur the tourism sector.

To him, the services demonstrate the Main Department for Immigration & Nationality Affairs' partnership in the promotion of the sector.

Both argue that they have no doubt for the sustainability of the e-visa for that all the stakeholders: Ethiopian Telecommunication, Ethiopian Electric Power and other infrastructure sectors are

He also adds that it assists in attaining the trade and industrialization efforts of the country. "Whatever standard you have the benefits outweigh the risks and pertinent bodies have to keep working to avoid any real or perceived risk."

Getnet stressed the importance of investing time and resource to ensure the sustainability of the services. For this to materialize, he suggests the need for working in concert with key stakeholders such as Ethio Telecom and Ethiopian Electric Utility.

Information obtained from Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that Ethiopia has 45 Embassies and 14 consulate affairs offices worldwide.

The online visa services, therefore, could lure visitors from places Ethiopia's foreign missions are unavailable.

In addition to the natural, historical and cultural tourist spots, Ethiopia has poised itself as one of the few Meeting, Inventive travel, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) destinations in Africa; hence, the online visa service would spiral the number and kind of visitors.


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