Ethiopia is one of those countries endowed with ample tourist attraction sites in the country.
However such resources are not fully utilized for national economic empowerment for innumerable reasons among others include the lack of support for tourism actors such as tour operators and hoteliers.
Yet the recently adopted Ten Years National Development Plan of Ethiopia and home grown economic reforms undertaken by the government are promising for the sector as it has provided due attention to Ethiopian tourism sector, disclosed during the chamber business forum held in Addis Ababa.
Having the theme “Tour Operation in Ethiopia, Challenges and Prospects”, the session has organized by Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce which brought together numerous stakeholders from the tourism sectors such as tour operators and government representatives.
While speaking at the forum, Andinet Feleke, President of Ethiopian Tour Operators Association, said that although Ethiopia has ample tourism opportunity and yet didn’t fully utilize it due to the fact that such products are not properly marketed and promoted to global and local tourists.
She further calls on the government to create enabling business environment for tourism sector that encompasses wider supply chain.
Went on her remark, Andinet strongly urges the government to exempt tour operators from value added tax to be competitive in the global tourism industry.
Unable to take such measures in the last decades significantly affected the legally registered tour operators in Ethiopia, underlines Andinet.
While sharing the stand of Addis Chamber, Yohannes W/gebriel, director of arbitration institute of the Chamber commends the role of the government in providing due emphasis for the tourism sector by its recent policy measures and regulations, he however calls on the government to really transform the sector to advanced ones.
As far as Ethiopian tour operators are concerned, Yohannes said that the government should take in to account the various challenges associated with VAT paid by Ethiopian tour operators.
The draft VAT proclamation that is put in place in the times ahead shall respond to the burning issue of taxation raised by tour operators, underlines Yohannes.
Reducing the rate of VAT levied on tour operators or issuing zero VAT tariff will resolve the long awaited questions of tour operators, Yohannes further remarks.
Moderating the session, Shibeshi Betemariam, Secretary General of Addis Chamber, has elicited the session that the chamber has submitted a recommendations to the government that aims to protect and advocate the interest of tour operators in Ethiopia.
In his concluding remark he also pledges to continue the initiative of hosting successive advocacy platforms periodically to championing the private sector in Ethiopia.