Tourism sector needs Marshall Plan, experts say

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Ethiopia’s tourism sector needs a “Marshall Plan” to boost the growth of the sector, said experts who are working on tourism and hospitality.

Problems of attitude, lack of clear vision in the sector, tax collection predicaments, duty free and financial provision related difficulties are the factors that hamper productivity of the sector mentioned by the experts during the panel discussion on Thursday at Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Abeba.

Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations organized the panel discussion that emphasized on “The Doing Business Environment with a Focus on Tourism and Hospitality Sector”.

“The bottlenecks which have to be resolved by the government are challenging tour operators not to discharge their responsibilities,” said Andinet Feleke, President of the Ethiopian Tour Operators Association (ETOA).

The tourism experts also believe that the sector has received a special attention from the government as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) administration is developing tourism destinations and restructuring of tourism in a ministerial portfolio.

They further demanded a meet with the Prime Minister to discuss on challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Tewodros Atilabachew (PhD), an expert who presented a survey said that besides the US and Europe, China, India and Russia are the countries Ethiopia should take a lesson from for their advancement of tourism.

Another expert also opines that Halal tourism has not been received much attention and Ethiopian can attract such high rate of tourists from the Middle East nations in that regard.

Hirut Kassaw (PhD), Head of Addis Abeba Culture, Arts and Tourism Bureau claimed that the points raised are useful inputs to be incorporated for sector’s development. 

However, she explained that failure to create a harmony for joint objective is the major obstacle the country is facing.

She further pointed out that requesting different licenses in various places poses a great threat to sector’s development.

“Representatives of associations who assembled here, be united towards a common goal,” Hirut urges.

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