On 4 March 2021, the Embassy and the Ethiopian Airlines Benelux Area Office, co-organized a virtual event that focused on tourism titled as “Ethiopian’s Tourism Potentials: Promoting Ethiopia as a Preferred Destination for Tourists”. The aim of this event was to promote Ethiopian tourism to the tour operators based in Belgium and Luxembourg, connect Ethiopian tour operators with Belgian and Luxembourger counterparts, and create a platform for discussions on the prospects and challenges of the sector.
The promotion event was chaired by H.E. Amb. Hirut Zemene, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EU institutions, and was attended by the CEO of Tourism Ethiopia, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Ethiopia, Ethiopian tour operators’ associations (ETOA & TETOA), Benelux Area Manager of the Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Hotels Association, and owners of travel agencies from Ethiopia, Belgium, and Luxembourg, among others.
At the opening of the occasion, H.E. Mr. Sileshi Girma, CEO of Tourism Ethiopia – a federal government office in charge of tourism promotion-, stated that Europe, along with the United States and Asia, is one of our main sources of tourists. Specifically, with over 80 percent of its population having a culture of spending their holiday seasons outside of the country, Belgium remains an important source of tourists to Ethiopia. He further noted Belgium is one of the top destinations for Ethiopian Coffee; and also extended his warm invitations to all Belgians and Luxembourgers to come and visit Ethiopia and taste coffee from its origins. Mr. Sileshi also called up on the Belgian and Luxembourger tour operators who have not yet been to Ethiopia, to go to Ethiopia and explore the vast potential of the country’s tourism and to include Ethiopia in your tour packages. The CEO also declared Ethiopia’s readiness to receive tourists with the necessary COVID conscious protocol at airport, destination sites, and lodging.
The occasion further encompassed presentations about Ethiopia’s tourism potentials made by Mr. Weldegebrial Berhe, Director of Tourism Destination Marketing, followed by presentations made by the tour operators from both sides- Ethiopia and Belgium. Mrs. Ilse Dehandschutter, Sales Manager at Benelux Area Office of the Ethiopian Airlines also presented about the attractive offers and services provided to tourists from ET, the largest Airline in Africa.
During the discussion session, following the presentations, different important points such as issues of cost of travel, accommodation & local transportation, COVID situation, and security issues were raised and discussed accordingly.
Making a concluding remark, H.E. Amb. Francois Dumont, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to Ethiopia, congratulated the Ethiopian Embassy and the Ethiopian Airlines for organizing this successful event, and highlighted the importance of tourism for people-to-people relations, besides its economic importance. He also recommended Belgian tourists to visit Ethiopia not only for the coffee, but also beautiful nature, culture, history, and welcoming people are there.