ADDIS ABABA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia is taking various measures to attract more Chinese tourists, a government official said on Tuesday.
Ethiopia encourages foreign and local business people to invest in accommodations that cater to the needs of Chinese tourists, Gezahegn Abate, public and international relations director at Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT), told Xinhua.
"Although the number of Chinese tourists to Ethiopia is increasing, Chinese tourists face various difficulties during their stay in Ethiopia, including lack of food that meet their standards and lack of Chinese-language signs at various tourist spots," he said.
"In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, you can easily see lots of Chinese restaurants, but outside Addis Ababa, there are few Chinese restaurants," Abate said. "MoCT is encouraging possible joint ventures between Ethiopian and Chinese business people to meet the culinary needs of Chinese tourists."
Abate called on Ethiopian and Chinese business people to enter into joint ventures in the hospitalities sector in Ethiopia.
In the past fewe years, Ethiopia has undertaken cultural exchanges with China, showcasing Ethiopia's numerous touristic sites, he said.
Abate said his ministry is working with Ethiopian Airlines (ET) to facilitate the needs of Chinese tourists in Ethiopia, especially in domestic flights.
"MoCT is working with ET to make sure ET domestic flights services can accommodate the needs of Chinese tourists. These include Chinese-language promotional flyers and the stationing of Chinese-language translators at airports," he said.
ET operates passenger and cargo services to five Chinese destinations -- Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. It also plans to start passenger flights to Shenzhen and Chongqing.
Aiming to become Chinese travelers' favorite carrier, ET inaugurated the largest Chinese restaurant in Africa in January.
Ethiopia recorded 190 million U.S. dollars in revenue from 50,626 Chinese tourists that visited the country in 2018, according to MoCT data.
China is the third largest source of tourists visiting Ethiopia, only after the United States and Britain.
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Ethiopia in 2018 represented a surge of 11.7 percent from the previous year's 45,307.