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The Tigray Cultural and Tourism Bureau (TCTB), which was expected to announce a winner this month for Abraha Castle Hotel and Axum Touring Hotel canceled the bid..

The reasons given for the withdrawal include changing the technical evaluation and a withdrawal by two bidders Green Coffee Agro Industry and Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) in the bid for Abraha Castle Hotel.

When the tender was posted six months ago over 90 organizations attempted to start the bidding but only four companies completed the process to own Abraha Castle. This includes: Green Coffee Agro Industry, EFFORT, ASER Construction and GMT Industrial PLC.

After Green Coffee Agro Industry and EFFORT withdrew, ASER and GMT presented their financial offers but the Bureau decided to post another bid.

A review of financial documents was 30 percent of the evaluation and the technical evaluation was 70 percent. The technical appraisal was comprised of; quality, integrity, practicality, pace of implementation, proof of financial capability, employment generation, human resource development and management competency.

The Bureau had posted a bid to reconstruct the 60,000sqm Abraha Castle Hotel into a four or five star hotel to attract more customers and tourists. TCTB promised to refund 50 percent of the total investment made on the expansion facilities.

If the  bid is not canceled the buyer  would  be expected to preserve the old castle and the hotel, while at the same time building a new hotel which could have as many as 300 international standard rooms, a swimming pool and a parking lot.

The hotel which is currently owned by TCTB has 24 rooms and two small restaurants. One serves traditional Ethiopian food and the other offers European cuisine.

Abraha Castle Hotel was the residence of Dejazmach Abreha Araya, the governor of Tigray and is built on an artificially raised landscape. The hotel has been in operation since 1960.

TCTB also cancelled the Axum Touring Hotel bid in the middle of the process. Haile and Alem International P.L.C., which is owned by Haile Geberselassie and his wife Alem,  GAF General Merchandise PLC, GMT Industrial PLC and three others  participated to own the 11,000sqm hotel. The rebid on this hotel is expected to open soon.