Jumia Travel celebrated its 1st annual tourism industry and hotel awards day at Ramada Addis. After over a year of successfully establishing and growing its online hotel booking service in Ethiopia, Jumia Travel, has become the N°1 online hotel booking platform in Africa. On this annual celebration day experts on the hospitality industry presented their findings on the Ethiopian hospitality industry’s progress, shortcomings and future expectations.
The event pointed out that Ethiopia has massive tourism potential, however the current situation as it might have impacted other sectors it also have impacted the tourism sector. Nevertheless, the sector remains resilient and the country is working hard to ensure the safety of tourists and to eliminate the impact of security threats on the tourism industry.
Growing the sector contribution to overall GDP remains to be the focus of the country. The direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to the GDP lingered lower than anticipated with just 1.2%. However, with the development of infrastructure its contribution is expected to rise to 4.8% in the coming four years.
While the Ethiopian economy is expected to register growth, its hospitality sector is poised for further growth in the wake of increased number of inbound travelers into the country, Alexander Burtenshaw, country manager of Ethiopia said. Growing the number of hotels is part of the plan to make Ethiopia one of the top five tourist destinations in Africa in the coming four years; enabling the country to use its tremendous tourism potential, Alexander explained.
Being the third largest diplomatic community in the world, following New York and Geneva, Addis Ababa is building several star hotels to satisfy the growing demand. Such kind of infrastructural developments have set Ethiopia for further growth. Research shows the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was (4.1% of total GDP) in 2015, and is forecast to rise by 2.0% end of 2016, and to cover (3.2% of total GDP) in 2026. The country’s initiative to grow the number of hotels and lodges has enforced tax holidays and incentives including easy access to land to encourage more investors in the sector.
The country received over 14 million BIRR worth of investment on Travel & Tourism in 2015, bringing the sector’s investment contribution to 2.9% to the total investment. The sector’s investment is expected to rise by 3.7% end of 2016 according to expert predictions. The growth is forecasted to continue for the next decade. Stronger growth is likely to be underpinned by an improving infrastructure, Alexander said.
Despite the booming hotel constructions, Ethiopia is still ranked among the top 10 largest African untapped markets for international chain hotel development looking for more investments to host over 2 million foreign tourists in the coming five years. Further, new developments are expected to emerge alongside the existing encouraging factors to Ethiopian overall economy creating more jobs.
The annual hospitality day celebration was concluded by awarding Golden Tulip, Sheraton Addis, Ramada Addis, Lal Hotel and Capital Hotel for best hotel partner, booking award, rising star, customer choice and best partner respectively.