Private companies are back in business, holding holiday bazaars at the Addis Abeba Exhibition Centre. Dream Come True (DCT) Entertainment Plc has been awarded for organising the bazaar for Christmas. Century Promotion Plc, a veteran in the industry, bagged the contract for the Easter holiday.

Nearly a dozen firms participated in the bid last August, called by the Exhibition Centre & Marketing Development Enterprise, making the awardees amongst the six shortlisted companies.

The relatively younger DCT Entertainment won the bid to host the bazaar offering 35 million Br, and its contender, Century Promotion, will hold a follow-up bazaar for 28 million Br. The combined offers are significantly lower compared to the previous year’s winner, Betahon Special Events Plc, awarded to host both holidays for 110 million Br.

Betahon, a novice to the industry, defaulted on the contractual commitments it had entered with the Enterprise to organise the events. This led the Enterprise's management, under Tamrat Admasu, to organise them themselves. After the falling out with Betahon Events last year, the Enterprise leased its booths for vendors from 65,000 Br for nine square metres to 100,000 Br for larger ones. Thirty-eight booths were offered to small-scale enterprises free of charge, for all but seven businesses due to failure to meet the Enterprise's requirements.

"We had expected nearly 20,000 visitors to come for the Christmas bazaar,” said Teklu Abate, the deputy manager.

Teklu had hoped the number of visitors during the Easter holiday to be significantly lower.

Jointly sponsored by ethio-telecom and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), the Enterprise generated 125 million Br in revenues, about 70pc from the three main holidays.

Tamrat and his team's decision to make the Enterprise host these events had brought tension with event organisers leading to complaints lodged before the Chamber of Commerce and the city administration. The Exhibition Centre was under the management of the city administration before it was handed over to the city chamber.

According to Kumneger Teketel, manager of Ozzie Business & Hospitality Consultancy, “these events should be hosted by organisers,” arguing that the Enterprise discourages the private sector.

“It'll be a challenge to generate foreign currency as the government prioritises local vendors and overlooks bringing the international market to these events,” said Kumneger.

Kumneger urged the bid process to consider the experience and capacity of the event organisers besides the money they offer. He recalled the incident from last year.

Tamrat's management seems to have taken a lesson out of the debacle, urging the companies awarded last week to advance 20pc of the contract value five days after agreements are signed.

DCT Entertainment has been in business for three years, hosting multiple events, including a three-day technology exhibition at Skylight Hotel.

"It's our first time hosting a Christmas bazaar at the exhibition centre," said Murad Mohammed, owner of DCT Entertainment. According to Murad, nearly 60 vendors have registered so far. "We are working on the promotion," he told Fortune.

Century Promotion has been in the business for over two decades, hosting 27 events. General Manager of Century Promotion, Zewege Jemaneh, expects close to 350 vendors to participate in the Easter bazaar.

Opened in 1991, the Addis Abeba Exhibition Centre has been the sole venue of public holiday events for over two decades, hosting close to 20 events a year, until the Millennium Hall came into service in 2006. It is constructed and managed by Addis Park Development & Managment Plc, a subsidiary company of MIDROC Ethiopia. Mechare Meda, in Sarbet area, is also growing in popularity, hosting holiday events.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1171]

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