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IFC to provide technical, advisory support for tourism
From Left: Lensa Mekonnen, Jumke Jangun-Dokunmu sigining the cooperation agreement

IFC to provide technical, advisory support for tourism

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to provide a three year technical and advisory support to the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) over its marketing and destination development projects;including setting out a roadmap and capacity building for the tourism sector.

Signing the agreement, JumkeJangun-Dokunmu, regional director for East Africa, together with LensaMekonnen, CEO with ETO, said that the cooperation agreement will help Ethiopia cultivate its infant Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry in the years to come.

Currently, according to Jangun-Dokunmu, an estimated 10 percent of the ten million stop-over passengers are believed to visit Ethiopia annually. In fact, if the sector could get the required hardware and software infrastructures in time and place, the IFC regional director anticipatesthe possibilities for Ethiopia to double the number of visitors to its various tourist destinationsto be enormous.

The current less than one million foreign tourists could easily be doubled to two million,especially giventhe total of ten million transit passengers,Ethiopianflies through the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport; that would be a great leap in the tourism sector, both Jangun-Dokunmu and Lensaadded. The likes of Morocco, South Africa and Kenya have a better ranking in Africa for high volume of tourists flying in for both recreational and conference purposes.

According to Jangun-Dokunmu, conference tourists flocking to these countries donot leave right away when they are done with their businesses. Rather they prefer to spend additional nights to see the country. “People like to fly in on Sunday for a conference on Monday and stay a bit longer to see the attractions and spend more money,” she said.

Lensa also mentioned that the agreement will help further enhance the in-house capacity of ETO which currently is co-working on to develop a Tourism Satellite Account (TSA)–a main standard statistical tool for economic measure of the tourism sector–a UN methodology to measure real and aggregated contributions of the tourism sector. The advisory agreement will also work on a baseline data, as the existing one million tourists or the 10 million stopover passengers need to be verified. 

Adamou Labara, the outgoing IFC country manager for Ethiopia, Eretria, Djibouti and Somalia (he is about to head for South Africa to head five countries) said that the advisory support will require USD one million financing, excluding finances required for staffs, for initial undertakings.

So far, close to a million tourists believed to bevisiting Ethiopia each year; the government was longing to see that number grow to three million by the end of 2020 with projected revenues of USD six billion.  Last year, the sector generated USD three billion despite fragile political situations in the past three years where many western countries issuing travel advisories and warnings including the recent notice the State Department of US has posted in connection to clashes in Afar region, some weeks ago.