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Ethiopia’s tourist arrivals in 2017 are forecasted to grow by 5.7 percent than the previous year bringing the number of tourists to 910,010, according to PwC’s 7th edition of the ‘Hotels Outlook: 2017-2021’ report.
The report states that Ethiopia is set to boost investment in the hospitality sector in order to generate more foreign exchange earnings. While the country’s economy enjoys substantial growth, the hotel sector will be benefiting from an increase in the number of inbound travelers with the expected opening of some international brands.
“The growing presence of international brands in the country demonstrates confidence in Ethiopia’s tourism growth, particularly opportunities linked to business and diplomatic travel,” states Pietro Calicchio, Hospitality & Gaming Industry leader for PwC Southern Africa.
The report also acknowledges that despite Ethiopia’s bid to boost its earnings the political unrest that broke out has in recent years slightly impacted the tourism industry, nevertheless, the country recorded USD 3.4 million birr in revenue in 2016.
Government plans to boost the sector includes expanding Ethiopian Airlines’ footprint of regional and international routes and Addis Ababa international airport is also undergoing expansion that will enable it to service 20 million passengers a year by 2019, the report states.
The forecast shows that Addis Ababa will continue to grow as a regional business hub, supporting expansion in the hotel sector. Hotels in the city currently have a 60 percent occupancy rate.
Looking at the continent as a whole the report points out that the hospitality sector in Africa’s emerging markets looks set to profit from foreign investment and an influx of foreign travelers. The emerging markets are set to post faster growth in revenue than their counterparts in developed countries, making them integral to the expansion strategies of some of the world’s leading hotel developers.
Although the potential for foreign investment has improved substantially in Africa over the past several years it is not without a number of challenges. Some of these challenges include a drop in oil prices and other commodities, social unrest, unstable electricity supply and the impact of one of the most severe droughts across the African continent.