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By Muluken YewondwossenThe Ethiopian Tourism Trading Enterprise (ETTE) is poised to construct a grand duty-free mall near Bole International Airport with the view of expanding its duty-free retailing and the provision of new products.
“We decided to expand our duty-free businesses in relation with the massive expansion project of the airport terminal,” Assefa Guya, General Manager of ETTE told Capital.
When the expansion project is complete, the enterprise can supply a new pack of duty-free products for customers. Heavy duty furniture, electronics equipments, and vehicles are some of the items the enterprise plans to add onto the list of availables at the duty-free mall.
Previously, the enterprise had supplied duty-free vehicles for individuals who have tax exemption rights for a short time before the service was discontinued. The enterprise can earn hard currency from the sale of new vehicles which are normally supplied by motor and engineering companies at home. Embassies, international organizations, diplomats, and expatriate workers are rightful bodies in Ethiopia that can import vehicles free of duty.
ETTE is administered by the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency, a state regulatory body that controls public enterprises.
The enterprise, which is one of the leading public enterprises that fetch considerable hard currency to the state, has also plans to open a training center at its workshop located in the north eastern outskirts of Addis Ababa. The construction work of the training center has already commenced. The center will train local people in hand crafts.
The enterprise makes over one million dollars every month from the sale of duty-free goods. And in the past ten years, its profit has grown by three folds, the general manager has said.
A week ago, the enterprise has commenced celebrating its Golden Jubilee throwing a paintings exhibition at the National Theater. The exhibition held under the motto ‘Ethiopia and Ethiopians’ is on display for the seventh time and all the paints are commissioned works the enterprise had sponsored. Assefa said ETTE will celebrate its anniversary with a series of programs.
The enterprise has a department that specializes in making hand-made articles. “We are producing all types of cultural products including pottery and hand-made chairs and tables that are produced from bamboo and wood,” he said.
The enterprise has ten duty-free shops throughout the capital city including the famous outlets at Bole International Air Port, AU and ECA. ETTE’s biggest duty-free shop is housed in its head quarter edifice located at Hayahulet area. The enterprise has ten art craft shops, one supermarket, and one handcrafts and paintings production center at Ayat area.
Last year, the enterprises ripped 306 million birr from sales. “Even though our business is very big compared with other public enterprises, we have a big potential to expand more,” Assefa said.
The general manager noted that the tourism business, mainly conference tourism is growing significantly in the past years, and in relation with the tourism growth, the enterprise’s turnover is also growing significantly. He said that the enterprise has a plan to expand its business, and currently, it is working to be one of the top five duty-free enterprises on the continent.
“Our goal is not only doing business but reflecting the heritage, culture and history of Ethiopia,” Assefa explained. The enterprise uses mostly local inputs to produce craftworks, traditional clothes and traditional furniture. “We sell the crafts with local and hard currency, while the duty-free products are exclusively sold to foreigners,” he said.
“The enterprise is now growing and its paid up capital has to be increased, while we are undertaking a study to expand the investment,” Assefa said.
“We plan to expand the export volume of handcraft products,” he added.
The enterprise also promotes Ethiopia’s tourism internationally in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
ETTE links up with cottage crafts people to get inputs including traditional wears and furniture for the products it makes.
ETTE commenced its service 50 years ago in a small shop at Bole International Airport. Today, it has 10 duty-free and 10 art craft shops, one supermarket, four liquor shops, and one pharmacy.
The enterprise is one of the oldest duty-free service providers in Africa, while it has a business tie with 60 international companies.
The duty free stores ETTE operates are all retail outlets that are exempted from paying certain local or national taxes and duties, provided that the stores sale the goods to travelers who will take the items out of the country. Which products can be sold duty-free as well as the manner of sale, and the process of calculating the duty or refund vary among countries.
The global duty-free sales are forecast to reach US 73.6 billion by 2019, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6%. Personal care and drinks will continue to be the categories with highest expenditure in the Duty Free market. The Asia-Pacific region will fuel growth in the global market with sales reaching to US 37.6 billion in 2019. Growing low cost tourism, the expansion of space and the number of duty free stores in various airports, and wider brand availability will enhance channel sales.