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A new five-star hotel was officially inaugurated in Hawassa on Saturday, September 21st.
The South Star International Hotel was built at a cost of about 246 million birr and held its opening ceremony yesterday, on the 21st of Sept. The hotel is one of the latest in a number of new hotels opened to meet growing demands, in the town in particular, and in the country in general.
The hotel employs 246 employees, about 75 percent of whom are women.
The owner of the hotel has entered the hospitality sector with ambitions to inspire others and to contribute to the growth of the industry. He also owns Enuma Trading Plc., said Wondwossen Admassu, whose company was the consultant for the hotel.
“Clearly, this new facility has been created as a result of an increasing potential for mid-scale flag properties, after the emergence of brands like the Sheraton, Hilton and Radisson Blu secured footholds in the market,” he said.
The consultancy firm owned by Wondwossen, Element Hospitality Management & Consultancy PLC, spent nearly three years consulting the hotel management and will continue to do so for a few more years, according to him.
It has more than 114 rooms, including different suites, family rooms, king-size extra rooms and king and standard twin rooms. The hotel is fitted with five elevators, 69 CCTV cameras and has ample parking spaces to handle more than 150 cars.
Its recreational facilities include a swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, steam bath and massage parlor. A business center, free wireless internet access in all rooms and public areas as well as conference and banqueting facilities have been set up for guests in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Annually, around 500,000 tourists visit Addis and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional state (SNNPR), especially the town of Hawassa, which is seen as playing an important role in the emerging economy of the country.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has vowed to make Ethiopia a top-five tourism destination for visitors to Africa by 2020.
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that the numbers of visitors to Africa will increase by five to seven percent per year until 2015.
The number of visitors to Ethiopia is already rising dramatically – increasing from 184,078 in 2011/12 to 560,000 last year, a three-fold increase.
The average length of stay for tourists has increased to seven days, with an average spending of more than USD 150 per day.
Travel and tourism spending in the country totaled USD 2.38 billion in 2011/12, out of which a growing domestic travel sector accounted for USD 844 million.
Forecasts suggest tourist numbers travelling to Ethiopia will reach 1.2 million in five years.