Having survived the blows thrown at it by the pandemic and still waxing strong, Ethiopian Holidays, the tour operator arm of Africa’s most profitable airline, Ethiopian Airlines, is hoping to attract 10 million tourists to the country by 2035.
The agency said it is putting structures in place to ensure that the target is achieved adding that it has come up with a “One Trip, Two Destinations”, packages for passengers going to other destinations through its airport in Addis Ababa, in order to entice them to stopover and enjoy the allures that Ethiopia has to offer at no extra cost.
Speaking to Nigerian journalists during a visit to ET Holiday headquarters in Addis Ababa, the head of the tourism department of Ethiopian airline, Mrs. Mahlet Kebede, said the airline is collaborating with the Ethiopian government, tour operators in different countries including Nigeria and travel agents to meet its target of improving tourism in the country and the African continent.
“Ethiopian Holidays is the tour operator wing of Ethiopian Airlines and is a department which handles inbound as well as outbound tour packages. There are many tourist sites already existing while some are still under construction and will be finalised within few months, maybe eight or so. There are two things, one is for Ethiopian passengers from all over Africa to have like a full tour package within and outside Ethiopia. We can arrange that, plus you can visit Ethiopia throughout all the year. There is a time when it is dry and very pleasant throughout the year, so it is a year round destination. We have stopover packages as well.
“Ethiopian Airlines has mostly transit passengers going through Addis Airport, so the plan is to have these transit passengers to come for a day, two, and three up to seven days. We have already made different package combination depending on the interest of the customer. So a passenger has decided to travel on Ethiopian Airlines, the only thing we have to convince the passenger is to come for a few days into Addis while going or coming. So the motor that we have is “One Trip, Two Destinations”, going to other destinations. We would like to make it a pleasant one and we would not be charging any additional fare for the passenger to come and stop here in Addis. So people will be comfortable seeing Addis and next time they will be full package passengers.
“The response has been good so far but as you know Covid was one problem but now people have learned to live with COVID. Whether there is COVID or not people are visiting. So we will be fully promoting from now to October onward and we will be ready to attend to all the customers from the airport all the way through to their destination. Ethiopia Holidays is both for inbound and outbound. For example, when the COVID was really big, we were working on outbound, filling our outbound flights.
“So it is a major part and we have actually set a target for this department. By 2035 we will be reaching 10 million inbound tourists. So there are different projects because we are also having different films being produced right now so that people know what’s in here, so seeing is believing. So we will be promoting that, we will be having one folder in the inflight for travel so that we show what people will see when they come into Ethiopia.
“We are like a full-fledged tour operator and we were expanding, having our own tour operations. We ceased for a year and half but we will be starting right now to work again, the past year was not really good. But still the office was open an active for some outbound and inbound as well,” Kebede said.