By Mengisteab Teshome
Despite its numerous natural and manmade tourist attractions , Ethiopia has not unleash its potential to this end yet . And some suggest that in a bid to luring high influx of tourists, the country needs to outsource its tourism promotion activities to overseas companies.
Ministry of Tourism and Culture Public and International Relations Director Gezahegn Abate says his ministry is responsible for developing and promoting tourism in the country.” We are not now in a position to outsource our tourism promotion to oversea companies. But, we have been working with international print and electronic media houses like BBC, CNN and Aljazeera, The Guardian, Xinhua, among other, in promoting our tourist destinations and heritages sites .”
As to him, Ethiopia is becoming center of conference tourism. “Using this opportunity, the ministry prepares media tours for the aforementioned media outlets’ journalists in turn the media give extensive coverage to the historic and heritages sites as well as tourist destinations in the country” He also notes that instead of outsourcing the tourism promotion efforts, the ministry sends delegations to respective market potential nations. “The delegations stage exhibitions and showcase the country’s tourism potentials there.”
For Gezahegn, social media are gaining prominence as an element of Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) strategy and as they offer DMO with a tool to reach a global audience with limited resources, so the Ministry is eyeing to scale up such tourism promotion efforts.
“We have to diversify the social media platform using Facebook, Linked In Instgaram and other social media.”
He also mentions that the ministry is working with its IT crew to expand and develop comprehensive website that provides reliable and accurate information to all tourists.
However, Ethiopia Tour Guide Magazine Managing Director Zelalem Merawi says as the nation’s social media are not well organized in disseminating proper and timely information about tourism and hospitality industry . ” That is why we are involved in publishing 20,000 copies of Ethiopia Tour Guide Magazine which is distributed for free.” He also indicates that social media platforms like facebook, LinkedIn, Google plus, Instagram will enable tourists to exchange information instantly. “In my view, the Ministry of tourism and culture and other stakeholders have to toil much in promoting the country’s tourism potentials using all available means of communications .” Lion Advertising and Public Relations Service Chairperson Wubshet Workalemahu entirely agrees with the existing of poor tourism promotion activities in the country. He says : ” It is ironic to see nations with limited tourism potentials have managed to attract more tourists than ours .This is mainly due to their excellent promotion efforts .”
As the nation is striving to boost tourism development with new logo “Ethiopia, Land of Origins” he says the nation’s tourism promotion activities need to be supported by high tech information tools apart from outsourcing the efforts to well- established overseas companies .
Gezehagn also says each actor should be vigilant in offering the online services for tourists to access museums, attractions, historical sites and the like. “Before thinking of outsourcing the tourism promotion activities to overseas companies, we have to make use exhaustively internet services for booking hotel rooms, arranging tours , providing many other products and services to tourists and so on .”
All say realizing sustainable economic development is a game changer in attracting many more tourists to various destinations of the country this is because the promotion approaches and the platforms will be more efficient through times.