World Bank backs Ethiopia’s conference tourism

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Ethiopia’s hospitality industry has received a pledge of funding to the amount of ETB28m (€880 000) from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

The funding will be used by the Ethiopia Tourism Organization to develop the industry, with a focus on conference tourism. According to Addis FortuneBenyam Bisrat, member of the newly appointed National Tourism Board and President of the Addis Ababa Hotel Owners Association explained: “They are high-yield visitors with minimal negative environmental and socio-cultural impact.” He said this strategy was also designed to assist in overcoming issues related to seasonality.

The strategy for developing conference tourism in the capital city is due to be released in September, followed by a conference guide for Addis Ababa and its surrounding areas in October.

Teshome Fantahun, lecturer at the Catering and Tourism Training Institute at St Mary University, believes there is a long way to go before conference tourism can reach its full potential in the country. “The first thing to do is to recognise the necessity of conference tourism to our economy and utilise all our potential for its development. An agency that sets standards and centralises the efforts of the different stakeholders would also benefit conference tourism.”

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