Page 42

42 Travel & Tourism

SATURDAY TELEGRAPH

19 SEPTEMBER 2015

DESTINATION

The typical duality of Africa... And I love it Weihs

Addis Ababa: Africans' homestead

M

y objectives of this trip, when not seated in an airline lounge, taxi or airplane was to visit Ethiopia to officially announce the launch of our conference to the media and then head off to Kigali to see how developments in Rwanda were going for the new Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre and the Kigali Marriott Hotel properties. Both are planning to open their doors for 2016. Obtaining a visa wasn’t easy again

Fasilides Castle,Ethiopia. Inset: Sampling Ethiopia's cultural showpiece

Ahead of the annual African Hotel Investment Forum (AHIH) holding in Addis Ababa, the managing director of Bench Events, organisers of the forum, MATTHEW WEIHS, visited three African countries - Ethiopia, Rwanda and Egypt. He recounts his interaction with the people, culture, sceneries, cuisine, among others. but there have been some processes put in place which will make it easier for the event. Immigration will now accept multiple currencies and card payments. Outside of this, unfortunately, the process seemed chaotic and I was only glad I managed to get somewhere near the front. I addressed this with the ETO, our partners, and changes will be in place to support the smooth entry of our delegates which is a relief. After some meetings on the Monday we worked on preparing a media briefing set for 10am on Tuesday morning. It was a somewhat nervous start that, at 10am, we only actually had three

press arrive but we’d also gained a new speaker. At this point, however, I had real doubts that this was going to even take place but by 10.30am we had a pretty full and attentive room – a hubbub of local press and, true to form, it all seemed to go rather well. After a short meeting with Ethiopian Airlines I was straight off to Kigali. After a very productive meeting regarding how we can best work together – with some interesting topics for Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) being generated, I got the chance to explore a museum piece in the grounds of the compound. I found

out that this plane was actually the plane that took the first ever flight for the airline to Cairo, via Asmara, in 1946. It was magnificent and I saw an opportunity to go and have a look inside. You could feel the history wash over you when stepping into the fuselage. You could imagine the noise, the turbulence and the excitement of being on it. The romance was, however, definitely dented a little when I, curiously, took a little peak into the loo and was promptly knocked back by the stench. My contact at the airline commented that it must have been the construction workers nearby finding relief during the day.

New telegraph saturday, september 19, 2015 binder1  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

New telegraph saturday, september 19, 2015 binder1  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Advertisement