Ethiopian Airlines Role in Tourism Destination Competitiveness: Implications for Travel and Tourism Development in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Although tourism is increasingly promoted as an important source of economic growth, especially in Ethiopia, where its contribution has become crucially important to the country‘s GDP growth ---this in turn, is believed as positively impacts on the travel and tourism industry GDP in general and hospitality industry employment in particular, yet without an efficient air transport system, it is almost impossible for landlocked developing nations, like Ethiopia, for ensuring its sustainability. Indeed, almost 100 percent of the international tourist -arrivals in Ethiopia is through Air-Transport (this means, with extreme cases, 100 percent of international tourist arrivals account for this form of transportation mode has been guaranteed by Air- transport). Hence, this study aims at exploring into the contribution of Ethiopian Airlines key roles, for facilitating tourist arrivals and departures through its hub at Bole International Airport , in tourist market-making activities, conveying tourist inflows, route network expansion, foreign exchange services, tourism service infrastructure improvements, promoting endowed resources, etc. along with its major stakeholders--- to-promote Ethiopia‘s endowed resources within its world destination- countries and to attract international tourists to Ethiopia . Thus, the study is intended to answer the research questions (1) what are the Ethiopian Airlines key roles in promoting tourism resources? (2) to what extent Ethiopian Airlines has to take a lead, in promoting tourism resources ,so as Ethiopia ranks against other countries, with its national full of tourism potentials--to maintaining its tourism destination competiveness position in Africa and beyond via Ethiopian Airlines ? To achieve the objective of the study, mixed research method was employed. Primary data was administered randomly from 360 international tourists who used to arrive in Ethiopia, in March and April 2019, for leisure as well as business travel. The tourists also filled out the survey questions for the study, along with 40 participants who were selected from the major stakeholders in the industry. Thematically coded empirical and documentary data were analyzed on the view points of the theoretical and conceptual framework of the research design, and assumptions modeling were also established on the basis of the research questions. An important finding emerged in this study was that, despite EAL has been operating route network expansion in 107 destination- countries throughout the world, as a key role, and promoting Ethiopia‘s endowed resources through conventional and digital media aggressively; yet travel and tourism destination competitiveness Index (WTTC, 2007-2017) rank of Ethiopia since 2007- 2017/18 ,was averaged only 118.33/140) .So, it hasn‘t been significantly improved ; nor Ethiopia‘s world heritages hadn‘t been well known by international tourists in the globe. Furthermore, the core finding of the study has shown that there is a loosely created synergy between the EAL‘s key roles and its major stakeholders‘ strategic plan. Ultimately, their plans were merely linked within the EAL‘s vision 2020. However, a number of limitations need to be considered, because of tourist service infrastructure and a loosely created synergy among the major stakeholders in the industry, Ethiopia is not harnessing the existing tourism potential from its natural and cultural world heritage sites. Although the study has framed the preliminary findings, and yet further research should be done to better understanding of EAL‘s key roles in tourism destination competitiveness perspective.



Ethiopian Airlines, Destination Competitiveness Factors, Destination Competitiveness Indicators, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)