My Opinion | May 18,2019
Jan 12 , 2019
By FASIKA TADESSE ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
The Ministry of Culture & Tourism has formed a new advisory group to carry out consulting duties for the Ministry on tourism issues.
With 14 members, the advisory body is composed of university lecturers, consultants and hotel and tourism operators. One-third of the members are university professors, while the rest consist of tourism industry veterans, public servants in tourism offices, hotel consultants and researchers.
The advisory body, the first in the country, was officially launched two weeks ago and will be chaired by Tewodros Atlabachew (PhD), president of Ethiopian Tourism Professionals Association, former head of the then Tourism Commission and a lecturer at Addis Abeba University.
Kumneger Teketel, managing director of Ozzie Hospitality & Management Group and a hotel consultant, became vice-chair. Sileshi Girma, deputy head of the Addis Abeba Tourism Bureau and a former lecturer at Gonder University, was named secretary of the group.
The advisory body will be tasked with facilitating a conducive environment for tourism industry operators, commissioning studies and research and coming up with recommendations and suggestions of policy amendments. It will also be mandated to organise meetings and consultative forums between industry operators and the Ministry, according to the establishment document of the group.
“The board will be independent,” said Mamitu Yilma, an adviser to the Minister of Culture & Tourism. “While operating independently by itself, the Ministry will provide the group with a fully equipped office and facilities.”
The group will hold regular meetings with the Ministry for consultations, discussions and to forward recommendations, according to Mamitu.
The group will develop a detailed strategy outlining how to proceed with its mandates, including deciding on the regular meeting schedules with members and with the Ministry, according to Kumneger.
Even though nearly one in ten jobs worldwide are directly related to the tourism and travel industry, Ethiopia seems to be less of a beneficiary of the tourism industry. In the last fiscal year, the country secured 3.5 billion dollars from tourism generated by 934,000 tourists. The number of tourists who arrived in the country is a quarter less than what was targeted.
The creation of the board will be beneficial to the development of the tourism industry, according to David Desta, who has over seven years of experience in the domestic tourism and travel industry.
"The decision to bring professionals and stakeholders together will help cultivate years of experience and insight," said David.
David also recommends the team create a strategic plan to help develop the nation’s tourism assets and put forward policies that can help increase smart, shrewd investments.
"The formulation of a true national blueprint that focuses on marketing, investment, product development and infrastructure would be a great starting point," he commented.
Last month, Tourism Ethiopia, another organ tasked with promoting the tourism industry, formed a group called Creative Partners. With seven members composed of event planners, photographers and communication specialists, Creative Partners will be advising the institution in similar ways to the new group.
Addis Alemayehu, founder and managing director of 251 Communications, Yoadan Tilahun, founder and managing director of Flawless Events, and Aida Muluneh, founder of Addis Foto Fest, are among the members of the Creative Partners of Tourism Ethiopia.
The first meeting between Ethiopian Tourism and the group was held three weeks ago on crafting corporate public relations and communication framework for the institution, which was recently restructured and changed its name. The new restructuring of Tourism Ethiopia has also moved the institution to report to the Office of the Prime Minister, away from the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 12,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 976]
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