Kumneger Teketel, the organising talent behind the well-established Hotel Show (Hospitality and Tourism Trade Show) in Ethiopia is launching a new fair: the First MICE East Africa 2016 Forum and Expo in Addis Ababa (June 9-11). His goal: to put Ethiopia on the African MICE map. 

Text Marcel A.M. Vissers

How to expand the meetings industry?

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism together with the Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO) is undertaking a study, looking at how the meetings industry could expand its earnings.
“We want to understand how ETO can collaborate with individuals and institutions to ensure that we attract more international meetings. We also want to facilitate MICE events to ensure that events held here are successful,”
 said Solomon Tadesse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ETO.  Solomon pointed out that the study, to be completed this fiscal year, will indicate gaps in the industry and recommendations on how relevant government bodies can support the MICE industry. “Currently, we are gathering data from different stakeholders. The data will help us paint an accurate picture of the MICE industry and show us gaps that need to be addressed. The study will also help us prepare a clear strategy for the industry and guidelines that will facilitate our work. The aim is to support those involved in organising international meetings.” 

The need for a national convention bureau

Kumneger Teketel, General Manger of Ozzie Business and Hospitality, the organisers of the MICE East Africa Expo, said the government’s interest and research initiative is a step in the right direction.
“When people come here to attend MICE events, they don’t come for one purpose only. They reserve hotel rooms, they visit places, they take transportation, they eat food. When we take these things into account, we can see how meetings have a positive impact on a country,”
 he said. Both Kumneger and Solomon agree that despite progress in attracting more meetings, much remains to be done.

“The country has recently hosted big international events such as the Financing for Development (FFD3) conference and the government is working to attract more events,” said Solomon. Big conferences such as the FFD3 were organized in the absence of national convention bureaus, which in countries like Tanzania and South Africa, are responsible for coordinating MICE events.
According to Kumneger, “The study should consider the need for national convention bureaus to support the MICE industry.” All this efforts must lead to a successful first edition of a MICE fair in June 2016.

Organisers are inviting more than 150 hosted buyers – with a focus on European conference and incentive travel organisers – for a three-day visit to the first MICE East Africa Forum and Expo. If your application is accepted, return airfare, hotel accommodation and Forum registration will be offered.