ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia is working towards enhancing its hospitality industry capacity and welcome more foreign tourists, said an official with the tourism ministry on Thursday.
Speaking to Xinhua, Gezahegn Abate, Public and International Relations Director of the Ethiopia Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCIT), said his ministry has been working with public and private stakeholders to boost the country's hospitality industry capacity and diversify the nationality of foreign tourists visiting the African country.
Ethiopia earned 3.5 billion U.S. dollars from 934,000 tourists who visited the country in the Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2010 (2017/2018), that ended on July 7, said the official.
Abate mentioned the MoCIT's work in attracting tourists from the world's most populous nation, China, which he said has shown a steady increase in the past several years despite the unrest the East African country went through since 2016.
"MoCT is encouraging Chinese investment in Ethiopia's hospitality sector with a view to dramatically increasing the number of Chinese tourists," Abate said.
With a view to making tourism a major hard currency earner, Ethiopia is implementing incentives for entrepreneurs involved in the tourism and hospitality industry, including duty free arrangements for construction materials.
Chinese tourists are the third largest group of tourists to Ethiopia, only surpassed in numbers by tourists from the United States and UK.
Ethiopia earned 169.6 million U.S. dollars from 45,3017 Chinese tourists that visited the country in 2017.
The 2017 Chinese tourists' figures have shown a steady increase from 2016 numbers, which stood at 41,659.
The national flag carrier Ethiopian airlines already flies to five destinations in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chengdu and Guangzhou and plans to start flights to Shenzhen later this year.