Ethiopian Airline uses connectivity to lure Nigerians to tourist attractions

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Ethiopian Airline is making a conscious effort to lure Nigerians connecting flights to other locations from Ethiopia to stop over and see attractive and historical locations in the country. This is coming at a time the airline has built a hub around its country as the airline connects 54 destinations in Africa and 94 destinations worldwide, making it the highest connected airline in Africa.

 

“So, Ethiopian Airline is trying to promote their tourism. This is the third familiarisation trip to Ethiopia this year. They are doing what other countries are doing. They want us to see the Muslim heritage of Ethiopia. They have done the Christian part such as Lalibela, a mysterious rock hewed church, now they are doing the Muslim part,” Ikechi Uko, a travel expert, told BusinessDay.

 
Uko said the current CEO of Ethiopian Airline was the chairman of the Board of Ethiopian Tourism Organisation, adding that it was Ethiopian Airline that was driving the tourism of Ethiopia. The country also plays host to a lot of tourist attractions such as the ancient Holy Trinity Cathedral, Ethnological Museum, Entoto Hill, among others, thereby making it possible for even passengers on connecting flight to take out time for a visit into one of the tourist attractions.

 
In a bid to attract the Muslims in Nigeria to Ethiopia, the airline currently commenced international operations from Kaduna State. Some of the new Islamic destinations the airline is promoting include Al Nejashi mosque in Mekelle, Dire Diwa, Harar, the fortified historic Islamic town, ethnographic museums and other Islamic sights.

 

Samoa Zakaria, the Ethiopian ambassador to Nigeria, said Kaduna was their fifth destination in Nigeria, after Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Kano, adding that it operated five destinations in only two countries, China and Nigeria.  He said the airline was willing to begin operations to any destination, adding that Ethiopia recognised the big brother role being played by Nigeria in Africa.

 
Dawud Mume Ali, director-general, Ethiopia WildLife Conservation Authority Ministry of Culture and Tourism, told BusinessDay that Nigerians were the first visitors from Africa in Ethiopia. “Nigerians visit Ethiopia in large numbers. Sometimes, Nigerians come here to see historical sights and sometimes to shoot films here,” Ali said.

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