Enchanting tourist attractions, unique diplomatic stature and thriving airlines have placed Ethiopia, the Land of Origin, on top of the world when it comes to tourism growth. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual review, the country saw the highest tourism growth in the world (48.6%), surpassing the global average growth rate of 3.9% and the African average of 5.6%. During the period, the sector supported 2.2 million jobs and contributed US$ 7.4 billion to Ethiopia’s economy, an increase of US$ 2.2 billion in 2017.

The timeless charm of Ethiopia’s natural, cultural and historical tourist attractions has been driving an influx of tourists from far and wide. As the land where mankind, coffee and the Blue Nile trace their roots, Ethiopia has always been a fascinating destination for holidaymakers.

The country’s UNESCO-registered heritages including the majestic obelisks of Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the fortified historic town of Harar, among others, have always remained tourist magnets, drawing visitors in droves. Add to this the magnificent scenery and the unique wildlife riches, some of which are found only in the country.

As the MICE tourism blossoms around the world, Ethiopia is also uniquely positioned to reap the benefits, owing to its unique place in Africa’s diplomatic landscape. Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa hosts African Union headquarters and the offices of UN-ECA among others. Addis is the toast of Africa. It welcomes diplomats and executives from across the continent and the rest of the world. With its remarkable safety record and forward-looking infrastructure boom, today the city stands among the top capitals in the world, hosting major regional and global conferences.

As the main hub of the pan-African carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopia also enjoys convenient air connectivity with multiple destinations in Africa and the rest of the world, making travel to the country easier than ever before. The connectivity options the airline offers to travellers has made Ethiopia ever more accessible to the whole world and has facilitated the influx of tourists.

The airline’s catalyst role has never been more impactful, especially in promoting tourism, as alluded to by Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council concerning the exceptional growth of Ethiopia’s tourism. “Ethiopia’s Travel & Tourism boom was one of the great success stories of 2018. It has exceeded our sector’s global and regional comparisons to record the highest level of growth of any country in 2018,” Gloria Guevara notes, “This has been driven by the very strong performance of aviation in the country and the development of Addis Ababa as a dynamic and growing regional hub.”

Africa’s largest carrier today spreads its wings to 120 destinations throughout the world, with half the destinations in Africa. Thanks to Addis Ababa’s strategic location at the centre of the East-West lane and the ever-expanding service of Ethiopian Airlines, the city has emerged as the major gateway into Africa surpassing Dubai.

Besides its wide connectivity and multi-award winning signature services, the flag carrier’s cutting-edge technologies are adding a definite wow factor that is enabling the influx of tourists to savour the beauty of the nation and designate east Africa’s nation as a home away from home! Ethiopian Mobile App enables international travellers to secure e-visa within four hours and elevates travellers to a high degree of personalisation and end-to-end travel experience through mobile devices.

Global passengers can apply e-visa and book their flights, pay online using credit or debit cards, mobile money, e-wallet and bank transfer. They can also check-in and issue boarding pass as well as self-board. Passport and Ethiopian App suffice all the way to experience seamless travel to and from Ethiopia. The excellence of Ethiopian is also manifest in its hospitality and award-winning service. The carrier has been certified by SKYTRAX as Four Star Global Airline.

As Ethiopia keeps leveraging its edge as a destination of choice for holidaymakers and as Addis Ababa continues to augment its place as the diplomatic capital of Africa and the flourishing hub of Ethiopian Airlines, the sky will be the limit to its tourism growth in the years to come.