The Ethio-Djibouti relation that is expanding along the economic sector is witnessing growing private investments from both sides of the corresponding countries.
The prominent hospitality facility in Ethiopia, Kuriftu Resort, operated by an Ethiopian born diaspora Tadios Belete, is now stretching to the East African logistics hub of Djibouti.
The facility that will be built on Moucha Island, which is a 15 minutes boat ride away from Djibouti’s capital, is considered a landmark of Ethiopian private investment in Djibouti.
Officials of the two countries have committed to support any corresponding private sector investment same as they do for their local businesses.
The construction of Kuriftu Djibouti was officially launched on Monday February 9, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti.
The first phase of the project will cost USD seven million. During this phase 30 presidential rooms and two villas, a conference facility, spa, different restaurants and a full range of water activities will be included. The entire construction of the resort is expected to be finalized within one year.
Tadios Belete, General Manager of Boston Partners Plc, who operates a hospitality chain in Ethiopia, said that Kuriftu Djibouti is jointly owned by him and Dawit GebreEgziabher, who owns shares in many businesses in Ethiopia.
Powder white sand, blue sea water, and a variety of land and sea species make Moucha island one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. Whale sharks, dolphins and other different fishes are also additional tourist attraction at the island, according to the project owner.
“Excursions like Lake Assal, Dead Sea, and Tadjoura are very close to the Moucha Island. The resort will be at the center of many tourist destinations,” Tadios said.
The company has received 653,000 square meters of land on the island, including 250,000 square meters of thick forest.
Tadios said that Boston Djibouti Plc, a company that will own Kuriftu Djibouti, will have an additional facility in the capital of Djibouti. This unit will take care of guests who will arrive in Djibouti and traveling to the island.
According to the information obtained from the company, skilled workers who handled the Kuriftu Resorts projects in Ethiopia have already arrived in Djibouti.
They told Capital that Djibouti’s hospitality project will maintain the same standard and similar style as the Kuriftu Resorts in Ethiopia. One of the qualities of Kuriftu is the architectural design of shades in the resort.
“Most of the inputs or resources that we need to make the project are available in Djibouti,” Aschalew Getachew, Development and Maintenance Director of Boston Partners told Capital.
He said that, they have currently started constructing residential houses for the workers, while the major work will commence immediately. “These kinds of facilities will include the full Ethiopian tourism package,” Tadios added.
“As part of the economic integration, one of the things we must do is expand the tourism sector,” Prime Minister Hailemariam said. “Ethiopia and Djibouti have agreed to fully support this project,” he added.
Currently, the Djiboutian government aspires to boost the tourism sector. Mohamed Abdullahi Waiss, Director General of the National Tourism Authority of Djibouti, recently told Capital that the current revenue from tourism contributes around three percent of Djibouti’s GDP. But according to the plan the target is to increase tourism revenue to 15 percent of the GDP by 2035.
A decade ago, 2,000 tourists visited Djibouti annually, but that number is growing by 300 percent every year. In 2013, the number of tourists that visited the country was 62,000.
The authority head said that by sticking to the strategy that Djibouti has drawn to increases tourists flow, the total number of tourist arrival could reach half a million per annum by 2035.