The MICE flame has suddenly moved to East Africa. Though we are quite familiar with several tourism trade shows in Africa, other than in South Africa, where Meetings Africa rules the waves, there are no dedicated MICE fairs on the African continent. Lighting the East African flame has been the making of super active Ethiopian Kumneger Teketel, the organising talent behind the well-established Hotel Show (Hospitality and Tourism Trade Show) in Addis Ababa.
Text Marcel A.M. Vissers
Two leading conference centres
The capital of Ethiopia is no longer an unknown player in the universe of African convention organisation. Two reputed convention centres are operating in Addis Ababa. First and foremost there is the UN Conference Centre, since many years home to the Economic Commission for Africa and venue for all the major international events in the country.
In 2012 the African Union Conference Centre and Office Complex with its striking architecture and room to accommodate 2,500 delegates was inaugurated. The high-rise towers 100 metres above the city and was a gift from China. But there is more. In 2012, Kumneger, a young and dynamic local entrepreneur, launched the Hospitality Fair. We are already looking forward to its 4th edition next year.
During this year’s event the organisers also announced an East Africa MICE fair for 2016. Quite a challenge! However, those who know Kumneger Teketel are well aware of his fighting talent. He has MICE written all over him. He knows what it is all about. As a matter of fact he might be one of the only persons in Ethiopia to understand what MICE can represent for his country and its geographic area.
The country that gave birth to mankind?
Obama’s recent visit provided an incredible boost for Ethiopia’s tourist attractions. Most of the attention went to the Ethiopian National Museum where Lucy, a 3.2 million year old lady, is the star exhibit. Yet, it is the country’s dazzling rough nature that steals the show. Like the Rift Valley with its many beautiful lakes and the remote villages of the Omo Valley. It is an open secret that Ethiopia is endowed with some of the most unique sites of the African continent: Axum (home to the Ark of the Covenant), Labilala (the New Jerusalem), Fasil Ghebb (the Royal Enclosure), Harar (City of the Saints) and the Hamar (Valley of the Tribes) … just to name a few.
The celebrated Awash Winery, on the other hand vouches for the country’s wine-making tradition. And lest we forget, there is of course Ethiopian coffee, one of the best coffees in the world. Ethiopia is also home to many champions, with the village of Bekoji, where the country’s greatest runners come from, leading the list. In Addis Ababa every visitor will be moved by the serenity of Orthodox religion culminating in the magnificence of the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Finally, it is probably needless to remind readers that Ethio Jazz is just out of this world!