Ethiopia participated at the 40th World Travel Market (WTM), which took place from Monday 4th November – Wednesday 6th November at ExCeL in London. WTM is the largest business-to-business travel event in the UK and attracts a 50,000-strong crowd of travel industry professionals, government ministers, tourist boards, buyers, media and influencers.
Ethiopia was represented this year by Tourism Ethiopia (the tourismyh promotion arm of the government), the Ethiopian Embassy, Ethiopian Airlines and 20 of the country’s best tour operators. The event posed an important opportunity to showcase Ethiopia’s tourism potential, meet with trade in the UK market, maintain key industry relationships and to build important new ones.
Proceedings kicked off on 4th November with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which marked the official opening of the Ethiopian Stand, by H.E. Mr Fesseha Shawel Gebre, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group and Mr Michael Yohannes, UK Area Manager of Ethiopian Airlines.
On the second day, which was open to the public, a networking reception was held at the stand to celebrate Ethiopia’s participation.
This year, the stand attracted hundreds of visitors, who were treated, every day, to coffee from the Land of Origins. Visitors also had the opportunity to enter a prize draw, courtesy of Ethiopian Airlines, and win a return flight to Ethiopia and a two-night stay at their brand new 5-star hotel, Skylight.
Wrapping up the three-day event, Ethiopian Airlines was announced winner of the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards for “Airline to Africa”, adding to their haul of accolades.
Mr. Negussie Eshetu Aredo, Director of Marketing at Tourism Ethiopia, who was also present at WTM, held various meetings with travel trade professionals and journalists.
…UK an important tourism partner
The UK remains a key inbound market for Ethiopian tourism, with the number of arrivals to the country on the rise year on year. The rise in tourism numbers is partly driven by the very strong performance of Ethiopian Airlines, the leading airline in Africa, the wealth of cultural and historical tourist attractions and the development of Addis Ababa as a dynamic and growing regional hub. A number of new UK-based tour operators are also adding Ethiopia to their portfolio.
According to the latest annual review by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Ethiopia’s Travel and Tourism economy grew by 48.6% in 2018 – the largest growth of any country in the world. The research showed that this was primarily driven by leisure travellers: 79% of the spending was generated by leisure visitors and 21% from business travellers. The research also shows that the sector is strongly weighted towards international travel: 77% of spending came from international travellers and 23% from domestic.
Ethiopia is endowed with historical places, natural beauty, colourful and diverse cultural activities and various endemic wild animals which are of great interest to international tourists. Ethiopia’s famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, for example, are among Rough Guides 100 Best Places on Earth to visit in 2020. New experiences are also opening up. On 11th October, Unity Park opened its doors to the public – locals, and tourists – for the first time in more than a century.
The Park’s 40-acre compound is home to Menelik Palace, which was established in 1887 by Emperor Menelik II.
Latest figures also show that with the introduction of the e-Visa service back in June 2017, Ethiopia has opened its doors to foreign visitors wider than ever before. The e-Visa service has redefined visitors’ travel experience, easing entry into the country with digitised service accessible from any part of the world.
On behalf of Tourism Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines, we invite you to visit Ethiopia and discover its infinite possibilities!