Ethiopia to become one of the top travel destinations in Africa, claims Green Land Tours & Hotels

Friday, 17 January 2014 12:40

Original article here:

Interview with Dario Morello, CEO of Green Land Tours and Hotels (Ethiopia)

Dario Morello, CEO of Green Land Tours and Hotels (Ethiopia)

What is  your overview of the tourism industry in Ethiopia? What would be your outlook for 2014 and  beyond? Is Ethiopia on its way to become one of the top tourism destinations in Africa?

Tourism  in Ethiopia has been growing substantially in the past few years. Previously, Ethiopia was  not very well-known for its tourism industry but for the past year or so, the  private sector and the government have been together promoting Ethiopia on a more international scale, for example by attending  different travel or trade  fairs abroad. As a result, Ethiopia has become more known and tourists  are coming and going back to their countries and giving good reviews of their travel visits. We hope this trend will continue and we are very confident that 2014 will  be a good year. We strongly believe Ethiopia will soon become one of the top travel destinations in Africa.

Can you  give us a brief history of Green Land Tours and the type of services you  provide?

Green Land Tours started 16 years ago and we are a tour operator based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Late Tana Ethiopia, Green Land Tours EthiopiaRecently we extended the range of our services in Ethiopia as well as in the neighboring countries that we cover.  We have many different kinds of tours in Ethiopia, as well as in other destinations in East Africa such as Kenya, Tanzania,  Sudan, South Sudan and Djibouti. We have our own offices in each place and we  have marketing offices in Europe; in Italy and London.

You said  you’ve been in business for about 16 years. How has the tourism industry been  evolving since the company’s inception?

The tourism industry in Ethiopia  has been evolving quite well over the past years. I can say we have wintnessed a four  or five percent growth each year. There are many tourists coming from Europe  and the United States as well as from some Asian countries like Japan. I think the growth is a constant growth which is indeed very good.

Are you looking for any new relationships with tour operators and travel agencies around  the world in order to further enlarge your customer base?

Yes,  we usually participate in over 15 trade fairs per year on average and we attend these trade fairs primarily in order to  establish contacts with tour operators and travel agencies abroad, which will  then promote Ethiopia on their brochures or websites. Our work or task is mainly to  make contact with travel agents and tour operators abroad.

Can you  tell us about your staff and drivers and the  experience they have? What are your strongest points in comparison with your competitors?

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We started 16 years ago and we are a tour operator based in Addis Ababa. I think one of the main things that has made Green Land grow and develop further is the quality staff we employ and the vehicles we own. Today, we promote every part of Ethiopia, from the historical sites in the north to the people and the cultures in the south.

I  think one of the main things that has made Green Land grow and develop further is the quality staff  we employ and the vehicles we own. We have a very committed staff, starting from the  office people to the guides, drivers and cooks; we have about 400 employees  working with us. We employ guides who speak different languages including Italian, English,  German, French, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. They are very committed to  taking care of the clients and they are very professional. Moreover, we have a very large  fleet of vehicles, ranging from Land Cruisers to buses; we use different kinds of vehicles depending on the area.

Do you  have any online marketing presence such as YouTube or social media?

Apart from attending the various international tourism fairs and events, we  have our website which is very visible on Google and other search engines; so  we are just using our website for the time being.

Does  Green Land Tours play any role in terms of social responsibility in the towns  and villages it operates in?

Yes,  we assist and cooperate on different projects every year, each of them taking place in a different village or town.  We are also assisting orphanages and schools, and projects related to elderly. In some  villages, like in Turmi, we supply a generator for the lighting of the town  and we also promote and help to fund other local initiatives and projects. There are new projects every year while some older are already ongoing for many years.

Geographically speaking, what  part of Ethiopia do you market to your customers? What areas or regions do you focus on when promoting destination Ethiopia internationally?

Ethiopia culture, Green Land Tours EthiopiaWe  promote every part of Ethiopia, from the historical sites in the north to the  people and the cultures in the south. There’s the Danakil Depression and we  are organizing trekking in the Simien Mountains as well as cycling tours, rafting etc. We really have many amazing trips and activities in our offer.

How do  you see Green Land Tours moving forward?

We  aspire to develop more in Ethiopia and as well as in other destinations in East Africa. We want to increase  the number of lodges and vehicles and employ more guides and increase the number of our staff in general. We very  much want Green Land Tours to grow in future years to establish itself as the leading tour operator in East Africa.

What would you recommend as   the top places to see in Ethiopia, let’s say the top three places to see?

There  are so many things and places to see however I can mention the most frequently visited places.

Firstly, there are the historical sites in Ethiopia. In the north of the country, there is  Lalibela which is a unique place. There are many rock-hewn churches – about 100  churches in the region. There are other places like Gondar which have castles. Then there is Bahirdar, where the Blue Nile’s source is located, including the spectacular Blue Nile falls. There is also Axum, which used to be the capital city under the rule of Queen of Sheba. The city’s history is more than 2000 years old and, according to a legend, it is the place where the Ark of Covenant was deposited.

Secondly, another big attraction in Ethiopia is the famous Omo Valley, where there are many different ethical groups, so you  can learn about many different cultures and traditions; as well the Rift Valley lakes  and different National parks located within that region.

The  third hotspot is the Danakil Depression which is a depression that is about 117 meters  below sea level. There is an active volcano (Ertale) and you can pass the night  on the volcano and see the lava; it is very amazing. There is Dallol, the plain  of sulfur, which offers very fantastic views.

Sightseeing Ethiopia, Green Land Tours EthiopiaWhat would be your final messages to tourists who are considering visiting Ethiopia?

I  think the above are the three main areas to visit in Ethiopia but then, as I mentioned, there  are so many other activities to do and places to visit. You can plan a tour to the Simien Mountains  or go  rafting on the Omo River, and so much more.

Ethiopia  is not yet very well-known worldwide but it is an amazing destination so I invite  everyone to come and visit Ethiopia. “Leave the ordinary;  discover the extraordinary;” come and enjoy Ethiopia, as well Kenya,  Tanzania, Sudan, South Sudan & Djibouti. Green Land Tours will show you the beauties of Ethiopia and East Africa.

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