ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia and China have expressed their keen interest to cooperate on the development of tourism sector in the East African country.
The Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia on Friday organized a half-day Dialogue on China-Ethiopia Tourism Industry Cooperation on its premise in the capital Addis Ababa, to explore ways of collaboration between Ethiopians and the Chinese in the industry.
The event has been an opportunity for Ethiopians and the Chinese to discuss ways of attracting more Chinese tourists to Ethiopia and also ways of cooperation in the sector between the two sides.
In his opening remarks, La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, noted that Ethiopia's rich natural and historical heritages coupled with the government's heavy investments in infrastructure presents the country's huge potentials for tourism development.
Ethiopia's landscape, wildlife, flora and fauna as well as its diverse cultures, and the infrastructure developed over the past two decades is the potential to tap the tourism sector in the country, said the Ambassador.
He stated that the Chinese could participate in Ethiopia's tourism both as tourists and investors to cooperate with Ethiopians and jointly promote and develop the industry.
"Last year, the total number of outbound Chinese tourist reaches 120 million, making us the largest outbound tourist of all the countries in the world," he said.
"I have realized that there is a growing interest from the Chinese business sector to be exposed to the development of Ethiopia's tourism sector because they are the number one builder in the world, they build best roads, the best airport, the best electricity facilities, the best running water facilities in the world," said the Ambassador.
Tadelech Dalecho, Ethiopian State Minister of Culture and Tourism, noted on the occasion that China and Ethiopia are countries with very strong and solid relationship.
With a long-standing diplomatic tie, the two countries are enjoying strong relations at the levels of government to government, business to business, and also people to people, noted the State Minister.
She reiterated that Chinese investors are doing great jobs in Ethiopia, especially in the construction sector.
The Dialogue is another window for the Chinese investors and also to create partnership among the Ethiopian business community and Chinese business people in the tourism and hospitality sector, said Tadelech.
"Hospitality and tourism is one of the sectors growing very fast in Ethiopia for the past few years. Ethiopia has very unique tourism potential for leisure tourists, for business as well as conference and different types of tourism targets," she said.
"Currently, the government of Ethiopia is giving great attention to transform the tourism sector in the country. There are different packages of incentives provided for investors in hotel and tourism sector. The investment policy and the environment overall is very encouraging for foreign direct investment and for all tourism areas," noted the State Minister.