Ethiopia eyes more tourists from Oman this year

Sami Muctar

Speaking to the Times of Oman, Muctar said that the launch of direct flights between Muscat and Addis Ababa has led to a ‘tremendous’ increase in the number of travellers and 10,000 visitors from Oman are expected to visit Ethiopia this year.

Flight frequency
According to the official, the newly developed package aims to increase the number of tourists, especially holiday travellers, between Oman and Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines will consider increasing the frequency of its Addis Ababa-Muscat flights in the face of higher demand.  

“Once we witness an increase in traffic, we will increase our frequency from four days a week to five and from five to daily,” said Muctar.

He also said that he was in constant talks with officials in Addis Ababa as well as officials at the Ethiopian Embassy in Yemen, which handles the affairs of Ethiopians in Oman, to put the necessary mechanisms in place so that Omanis will be able to enjoy visa on arrival.  

Commenting on the growth of the tourism sector in Ethiopia, Muctar said that the government has been investing heavily in infrastructure projects to provide a pleasant experience for visitors.

Infrastructure growth
There has been a huge increase in the number of hotels in the country, especially in the capital city, said the official at Ethiopian Airlines, the continent’s premiere carrier and a key driving force for the sustainable development of tourism in Ethiopia.

Muctar noted that Ethiopia has one of the most hospitable people in the world and the country’s tourism caters to tourists of all tastes and choices.

Peaceful coexistence
He added that since Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world that has accommodated followers of all major religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – peacefully for centuries, visitors of all religions would undoubtedly enjoy this appealingly beautiful coexistence and serenity within the society in particular and the nation at large.

Ato Dawano Kedir, state minister of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ethiopia, who recently hosted a trade delegation from Oman, also encouraged Omanis to visit Ethiopia, saying that the country has a lot to offer to visitors.

Highly diversified
Ethiopia is a highly diversified country and has a wide range of cultural, historical, and natural attractions from the northern parts of the country to the south. There are some countries in Africa which can be explored in one trip, but even if you visit Ethiopia several times, you will not be able to cover all the tourist attractions,” Kedir told the Times of Oman.

Ethiopia also has one of the best airlines in Africa, which gives the country a competitive edge, added the minister.

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, won the Best Regional Airline of the Year award among airlines of all regions in the world by Air Transport World (ATW) at the 41st annual Air Transport World Airline Industry Achievement Awards ceremony, held in Washington D.C. in February 2015.

Tourism companies
Oman is also determined to give a boost to tourism between the two countries, as stated by an official from the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), who accompanied the business delegation visiting Addis Ababa in a trip organised by the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa).

“There is great potential for co-operation in the tourism sector, and we plan to involve tourism companies in our next trips to Ethiopia,” said Ayman Abdullah Mohd. Al Hasani, vice-chairman for economic and branches affairs  at the OCCI.

Reporter can be reached at elham@timesofoman.com

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