Today is an ideal day to focus on Addis Ababa as Christmas (Genna) in Ethiopia is celebrated on January 7th.
Located in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains, Addis Ababa is the capital of modern Ethiopia. With the world's 3rd largest concentration of international organizations and embassies, Addis Ababa's international meeting and conference infrastructure is extensive.
It's interesting that the term "emerging destinations" is used to refer to great civilizations of the ancient world with cultures deeply rooted for thousands of years. For example, in the Bible, there are at least 61 verses that refer to Ethiopia (often referred to as the Land of Cush or Abyssinia). Tradition has it that one of the Magi came from Ethiopia. The descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (the Falashas) lived in Ethiopia for thousands of years before some members of this community migrated to Israel.
Ethiopia can only be considered an emerging destination in the sense that an awareness of the possibilities for meetings, executive retreats and conferences is just emerging in Western corporations.
Cultural attractions include the National Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art/Goethe Institut Ethiopia. The Ethnological Museum (located in what was Haile Selassie’s palace) houses priceless artifacts and icons. It has extensive meeting facilities, fountains ad lush gardens.
Adadi Mariam, a rock hewn church and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 42 miles southwest of Addis Ababa. The world-famous rock hewn churches of Lalibela that date back to the 12th century (featured in one of the videos in yesterday's post) are 642 kilometers from Addis Ababa. Other excursions include Tisisat Falls (the Blue Nile Falls) and Awash National Park is just east of the city.
Event and meeting planners will be interested in knowing about the United Nations Conference Centre, a modern, state-of-the-art facility with 2,000 square meters of meeting space and a capacity of 1,300. The comfort and security of participants is ensured as the venue regularly welcomes Heads of State and members of Royal families from around the world. With 6 six simultaneous translations units, it's also an ideal conference venue for multi-national corporations.
Places to stay in Addis Ababa include the 372-room Hilton Addis Ababa, Ghion Hotel, a 195-room conference hotel, and Harmony Hotel (US$10 million was invested to develop this hotel with 139 guest rooms and 10 suites).