ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Tourist arrivals in Ethiopia in 2017 could reach 918,010, a 5.7 percent increase over 868,780 registered in 2016, a report said Wednesday.
More international routes opened by the national Air carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) contribute to the projected growth, according to a report released by British accounting watchdog PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
With a view to boost tourist arrivals in Ethiopia and increase ET's domestic and international routes, Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is undergoing expansion that will enable it to significantly increase its annual passenger handling capacity.
Fully funded with a loan from China's Exim Bank, the 345-million-U.S.-dollar airport expansion project will increase its annual passenger handling capacity from the current 7 million to 22 million.
The project lying on 74,000 square meters is being constructed by China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC).
PwC also cited the increase of international hotel brands and Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and increased reputation for conference tourism for the projected growth.
International hotel brands such as Sheraton, Marriott and Radisson have set shop in Ethiopia, while the construction of five other international hotel brands is ongoing.
PwC's calculation is in part based on a rebound in hospitality sector in 2017 after political unrest in parts of Ethiopia in 2016 hit the East African nation's tourist numbers hard.