This month we get to know better the Ethiopia Convention Bureau with a brief interview
What was your motivation to join ICCA?
Our motivations to join ICCA are to join the global networking platform, to get association meetings business, increase our countries competitiveness, access ICCA resources including its publications and database, to get association meetings bid information, attend ICCA events and get training and education and promote our country’s MICE products.
Tell us your story. How did the Ethiopia Convention Bureau get started?
Ethiopia Convention Bureau (ECB) was established in 2020 with a fundamental role to lead, develop and facilitate Ethiopia’s MICE industry competitiveness and commercial sustainability through promoting the destination, bidding for MICE events and collaborating with private sector stakeholders to grow the industry as a whole. It was officially launched on 2 February 2021, with the presence of our president H.E Sahlework Zewde, Ethiopian Ministers, other higher officials, and stakeholders at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) conference centre.
What sets the Ethiopia Convention Bureau apart?
Ethiopia has an origin that is a mysterious mixture of fact, myth and legend. It can trace back more than 3,000 years of history, from humankind to coffee, teff and civilization. Ethiopia has the best Airline and route connectivity in Africa. From its hub at Addis Ababa, an Ethiopian airline serves 116 international and 23 domestic destinations. ET flies to 62 cities in Africa, Europe, North and South America - 22 Cities, Gulf and Middle East & Asia - 26 cities. Being located in the North Eastern part of Africa known as the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has a great geographical proximity to the Middle East and Europe. The capital, Addis Ababa, Africa's political capital city has been serving as the headquarters of African Union since its inception in 1963 and UNECA since 1958 - with the largest number of foreign embassies and diplomatic missions. Addis Ababa has state of the art facilities for meetings and conference events. It has a growing number of international standard hotels, such as Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson Blu, Golden Tulip, Marriott, Hyatt regency and Ramada. Additionally, an ever-improving infrastructure, a hub airport, and world-class conference venues at the AU, the UNECA, AAICEC (Addis Africa International Convention and Exhibition Centre) and the Millennium Hall, make Addis Ababa a destination of choice for MICE. Ethiopia provides visas on arrival for all African countries and E-visa service for the rest of the world. Moreover, Ethiopia, Africa's second most populated country, is one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, according to new data from the IMF. It is ready and open for investors.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
As it is a newly established Convention Bureau, the favourite success is the national launch made with the presence of the country's higher officials.
What can we expect to see from the Ethiopia Convention Bureau in the future?
Ethiopian Convention Bureau is working to make Addis Ababa as Africa’s city by the year 2030 and Ethiopia as Africa’s meetings destination of choice, and the origin of a far stronger and more successful MICE sector driven by Ethiopia Convention Bureau and characterized by an effective industry.
Which trends do you see in the Association Meetings?
These days the association meeting trends show that the meetings are turning to be hybrid. Requiring more technological advancement of venues, face to face meetings will remain as a best choice for business events. Education and training are becoming a top priority from attendees - requiring the planners to define high value content for the audience. Health issues will become more sensitive than ever before, influencing the bidding decisions and meeting locations. The whole industry is requiring a different approach, strategy, and policy revision from governments.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
The challenge that the MICE industry faces is the world pandemic COVID-19 which hinders the movement and gathering of people.