Ethiopia eyes more Chinese tourist arrivals

2021-01-26 12:06:19

People wearing traditional clothing sing and dance during a festival celebration in Addis Ababa. CHINA DAILY ADDIS ABABA-Ethiopia is seeking to boost its partnership with China in the tourism sector as part of a wider 10-year development plan. Ethiopia recorded around $37.2 million in revenue from 9,925 Chinese visitors in 2020, the Ethiopia Ministry of Culture and Tourism disclosed last week. China is the second largest source of visitors to Ethiopia after the United States. The Chinese visitors came to Ethiopia for a range of purposes, including conferences, business trips and leisure. In a recent interview with Xinhua, the Ethiopian ambassador to China, Teshome Toga, disclosed Ethiopia is working with Chinese tour operators to promote Ethiopia's tourism sites to Chinese tourists planning outbound trips. Toga says that, with state-owned Ethiopian Airlines being the only African air carrier traveling to five Chinese destinations, the potential to attract more Chinese tourists is enormous. "We're working with Chinese tour operators to promote Ethiopia's tourism potential and when the COVID-19 situation improves, we would like to boost Chinese tourist arrivals to Ethiopia," he says. Ethiopian Airlines operates passenger and cargo services to five Chinese destinations-Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chengdu and Guangzhou. It also plans to start passenger flights to Shenzhen and Chongqing. "The three outstanding areas I would like to see cooperation in the coming years are technology transfer, tourism and the development of human resources," Toga says. Toga also says that, with Ethiopia and China enjoying a comprehensive strategic partnership, the potential growth of their partnership in the tourism sector is exponential. Chinese companies are also helping Ethiopia's drive to create prominent tourist attractions across the east African country. Last September, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde commended the progress of Ethiopia's Chinese-built landmark recreational avenue located at the heart of the east African country's capital, Addis Ababa. Named the Friendship Square, it is currently being constructed by the China Communications Construction Company. The first phase of the project covers 32 hectares. Among the elements that the Friendship Square will incorporate are an embossed wall, portraits of human migration routes and a podium in the shape of a calla lily, the national flower of Ethiopia. Already, Ethiopia and China are partnering to start the second phase of the Friendship Square, which is expected to include a palace of science and technology, a wedding garden and a children's park. Xinhua