Jumia Travel has released its annual tourism industry report exploring the factors that make up the Ethiopian tourism industry. The report portrays key trends of the country’s successes and failures as well as its untapped opportunities in the industry. Although the Ethiopian tourism sector has been bolstering over the years, recent safety and security concerns have been a major setback to the country’s growing leisure and conference tourism industry. However, the sector remains resilient as the country continues working towards prioritizing security to ensure the safety of visitors and citizens, as well as to minimize the impact of security threats.
“The challenges are abundant but the future is inspiring, and we look forward to bringing the intended growth and progress into reality,” Paul Midy, CEO of Jumia Travel said.
The report indicates that over 800 thousand tourists visited Ethiopia in 2016, bringing over ETB 128 billion (USD 5.6 billion) to the country. This is dwindling performance compared to its 2015 performance as the country hosted over 900,000 visitors in 2015. Although the current declined figure does not meet the country’s expectations, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism hopes to increase the number of tourists to one million and the revenue to well over ETB 675 billion (USD 29.8 billion) in 2017. On the other hand, a remarkable growth has been achieved in terms of investment on the sector, rising by 3.7% end of 2016.
“Expansion on tourism activities contributed to reducing Ethiopia’s dependence on agriculture. Until recently, little had been invested in mapping the country’s tourism, but the last decade has seen intensified interest from investors,” Alexander Burtenshaw, country manager of Ethiopia said.
The report indicate leisure to be the top reason for travelers to Ethiopia as most of the sector cash flow 84.4% comes from leisure spending while 15.6% is from business spending.
“The country is looking for a transformational growth that will take the sector to the next level, marketing Ethiopia locally and internationally to make the country among Africa’s top five destinations. We are also shifting gear to incorporating technology into the industry,” said Solomon Tadesse, CEO of Tourism Corporation.
In terms of hotel booking, the highest demand remains in Addis Ababa at 39% followed by Hawassa at 11.2% and Bishoftu at 8.1% and Bahir Dar 7.5%. Majority of these visitors are from Africa (31%), followed by Europe (30%), and North America. Domestic Tourism is also growing with more people taking vacation within the country. However foreign visitor spending is the highest at 68.7% while domestic spending is slowly growing at 31.3%.
According to the report, Ethiopian travelers are seen to demonstrate a major interest on 2 and 3 star hotels, with 37% and 36% respectively. More price sensitive customers opt for complimentary breakfast, wifi, pool, and gym as well as airport pickup. Notably, a large number of customers prefer to pay online (59%) rather than at the hotel upon arrival (41%). The rising growth of online payments can be attributed to foreign travelers who book hotels with international credit cards.