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The Ministry of Culture and Tourism together with the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) is undertaking a study, looking at how the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) or meetings industry could expand its earnings.
“We want to understand how ETO can collaborate with individuals and institutions to ensure that we attract more international meetings. We also want to facilitate MICE events to ensure that events held here are successful,” said Solomon Tadesse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ETO.
Solomon pointed out that the study, to be completed this fiscal year, will indicate gaps in the industry and recommendations on how relevant government bodies can support the MICE industry.
“Currently, we are gathering data from different stakeholders. The data will help us paint an accurate picture of the MICE industry and show us gaps that need to be addressed. The study will also help us prepare a clear strategy for the industry and guidelines that will facilitate our work. The aim is to support those involved in organizing international meetings.”
Kumneger Teketel, General Manger of Ozzie Business and Hospitality (organizers of the MICE East Africa Expo to be held in March 2016) said the government’s interest and research initiative is a step in the right direction.
“When people come here to attend MICE events, they are not coming for one purpose only. They reserve hotel rooms, they visit places, they take transportation, they eat food, they buy different clothes and jewelry; when we calculate these things we can see the country can earn more money by hosting more events,” he said.
Both Kumneger and Solomon agree that despite progress in attracting more meetings, much remains to be done.
“The country has recently hosted big international events such as the Financing for Development (FFD3) conference and the government is working to attract more events,” said Solomon.
Big conferences such as the FFD3 were organized in the absence of national convention bureaus, which in counties like Tanzania and South Africa, are responsible for coordinating MICE events.
According to Kumneger, “The study should consider the need for national convention bureaus to support the MICE industry.”
Given the increase in the number of international meetings expected to be held in Ethiopia, more private companies are getting involved in the MICE industry that earns the country much needed foreign currency.