The General Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonnen has said that Ethiopia has a lot to offer in terms of tourism destinations.
Speaking in an interview with the newsmen at the recently concluded Akwaaba African Travel Market in Lagos, Mrs Mekonnen said the airline participated in the fair to showcase what Ethiopia has to offer in the area of tourism and new destinations.
She stated that Ethiopian Airlines has been participating in Akwaaba from the beginning for almost 15 years now.
Mekonnen explained, “what drives us here is because Akwaaba is a kind of platform where different African countries, companies can interchange their culture, tradition, ideas, and everything and what we believe is that Africa should fight for Africa, we should do inter African market, because we have a lot to offer to each other. Unless we support each other on different things, on different types of marketing, we cannot grow together”.
The GM further stated that Ethiopia has gained a lot from participating in Akwaaba because she has been able to showcase what the country has on her new destinations, and all the products on offer.
Mekonnen said since inter African Tourism has a lot to offer, Africans do not need to travel abroad because there is a lot to see here and a lot to offer when it comes to leisure.
“We are showcasing what Ethiopia has in terms of tourism destinations, we have so many traditional and ancient things that we have presented, so we have been trying to showcase them.
“Ethiopian Airlines as the new spirit of Africa and a pan African airline believe Akwaaba is a platform that can help Africa to exchange what they have in terms of tourism”, Mekonnen added.
She disclosed that tourism arrival from Nigeria to Ethiopia has been on the increase in the last two, three years as a final destination in focus, for people coming and for people doing stopovers.
In her words, “now we have visa on arrival, Ethiopia has introduced visa on arrival to all Africans, so you don’t have to process your visa prior to your departure and there are stopover packages, tourism arrival has been increasing a lot in the last two, three years.”
She explained further that now her country’s airport has gradually taken over from Dubai, Ethiopia has already extended her terminals so that different terminals can accommodate up to 20 million passengers in a year.
The Ethiopian Airlines general manager noted that: “This is a very big step for us because this one of the infrastructures we should work on for many countries to develop their transit traffic. More, so Ethiopian Airlines has been given the best service, the best in-flight service, best fleet, so all these are contributing to Ethiopia being hub for passengers transiting to in Africa.”