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    Ethiopia’s hotel industry needs help to encourage tourism

    The global tourism industry has substantial influence on the economy as it attributes 10 percent of the global gross domestic product and 6 percent of exports. One billion individuals travel across the world annually.

    Africa’s natural and cultural points of interest provide various tourism opportunities for the region and this has been clearly demonstrated. In 2015, the sector generated USD$ 36 billion in Africa, an increase from USD$10 billion in 2000. Travel and tourism have also contributed to present 466,000 jobs. The number of tourists has been foreseen to reach 134 million per year by 2030. However, tourism sectors in the Africa region is often limited by a lack of infrastructure development, air connectivity and financing. For example, Ethiopia in East Africa is a country with extensive natural, cultural and historical attractions. However, it is a largely untapped tourism market. It lacks infrastructure and is negatively viewed by the public after the famine in the 1980s and several conflicts.

    Ethiopia’s tourism landscape has demonstrated a gradually increase in the last decade. International tourist arrivals increased from 64,000 in 1990 to 680,000 in 2013. The numbers are expected to hit 815,000 by 2024 and its said to contribute a total of USD$2 billion to the country’s GDP. The sector is also likely to generate more than a million jobs; thereby contributing to 3.6 percent of the total employment over the next five years.

    Comfortable hotels play a fundamental part in attracting tourists. While the hotel sector is expanding, the number of available hotel rooms is still the lowest. In addition, there are few hotels that meet international standards and lack sustainable infrastructure. There are no zoning policies to establish the areas where hotels should be developed, or tourist activities to complement them when they are established.

    At present, the country only has six internationally branded and managed hotels. These numbers however do not meet the current demand. There are only three five-star hotels in Ethiopia and most “rated” hotels which guarantee a certain standard of service are found in the capital, Addis Ababa even though most tourist attractions are found in the countryside. There is also a lack of budget facilities such as youth hostels for budget travellers and backpackers.

    Hotel structures is another critical challenge as the hotel industry requires tourism facilities such as car parks, sewerage and water works, transport projects and roads. Therefore, zoning policies are needed to determine the locations of hotels. To encourage tourism growth and development, Ethiopia must enhance the hotel landscape and infrastructure that supports it. It will require the collaboration of all stakeholders to attain a competitive and sustainable sector.

    Source: The Conversation

    Therefore, how can the government and universities work together to achieve this above objective as well? Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – “The Way Forward: Hospitality and Tourism Education Convergence with Industry 4.0” which will be held from 5-7 December 2018 in Kuching, Malaysia to find out.