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Ethiopia – Embarking On A Mammoth Tourist Drive

March 11, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Ethiopia is a country of construction everywhere you go building is prevalent with apartments, accommodation, office blocks, and infrastructure for roads and transport. The Ethiopian Government through their newly appointed Ethiopian Tourism Organisation (ETO) has a massive plan on the drawing board to upgrade the whole country for tourism and the vision encompasses a decade or more of hard work.  The country has an abundance of history and culture going back nearly four million years but the majority of tourists are not aware of its magic and mystique. They equate it with some of the surrounding countries struggling on a number of fronts. The government has earmarked a significant budget to comprehensively build the brand and with it drive millions of visitors to enjoy the aura and excitement of the yet to be fully discovered destination.

 

Ethiopia is a sovereign state known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia located in the Horn of Africa sharing borders with Eritrea in the north, Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south and Uganda and Sudan to the west.  The most populated landlocked country in the world; it boasts nearly 100 million people occupying  1,100,000 square kilometres.

On a recent 10 day trip hosted by the ETO not a second went by where there was nothing interesting to see. For me the Simien National Park with its breathtaking views, animals including wolves and friendly baboons is a standout. Lalibela (the African Jerusalem) is also amazing with its rock-hewn churches and in Addis Ababa the National Museum houses the famous Lucy, the Australopithecus Afarensis hominid (first known person to stand upright) discovered by Donald Johanson in 1974. Ethiopians are not big smokers and in all the destinations we visited in the north the absence of smokers was remarkable compared to other countries. Living cost are very competitive a three or four star hotel will cost from AUD$150-$200 a night, a meal for two AUD$20 a local beer is a dollar and a Cappuccino about 90 cents and remember coffee is king in this country.

Travellers are often oblivious to the art of tipping particularly Australian’s. Tipping etiquette in Ethiopia is USD$2 a day for the guide, $5 for the tour leader and $1 for the driver. When you receive exceptional service you pay extra but stick to this formula and everyone will be happy.

For Australians travelling to Ethiopia there are a number of cities available to join the national carrier Ethiopian Airlines (ET) but the most convenient is through Bangkok. Our group of travel wholesalers and media had a two night stopover to break the journey. The airline has 85 aircraft including seven B-787 Dreamliners and 11 Airbus A-350’s and the entire fleet has an average age of just five years. ET flies to 90 international ports and 19 domestically.  Management is in negotiation to fly to Australia but no date has been set.

The Australian group in front of a 777 engine

http://www.ethiopianairlines.com

Australians require a visa to enter Ethiopia. Visas are issued on arrival, a single entry for one month is AUD$52, for three months AUD$78. Volunteers to Ethiopia require a business visa particulars    http://www.ethiopianembassy.net/visa-information-page/

For further information on touring Ethiopia: www.ethiopia.travel

African Wildlife Safaris – contact– Taleen Gaidzkar – taleen.g@awsnfs.com

Swagman Africa – contact Wayne Hamilton – wayne@swagmantours.com.au

With our scout Simien Nat park

Africa Ubuntu Safaris – contact Cuan McLaren – cuan@africanubuntu.com.au

Peregrine / Intrepid Travel – Rowan Waters – rowan.waters@intrepidtravel.com

For general enquiries and information – Africareps – herbie@africareps.com

Written by John Savage

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