Themed Restaurants as Cultural Ambassadors for Culinary Diplomacy and
Recipes for the Tourism Economy.
the year 2012, the world registered about 1.035 billion or 1,035 million
Africa’s share was about 52 million tourists.
As past records showed (2011), Morocco and South Africa registered
about 9.3 & 8.3 million tourists, respectively, while Ethiopia picked
up about 523 thousand tourists.  Tourism, as a whole, is a service
based industry. It has strict
criteria that adhere to factors, ranging from good business environment to
safety and security. In order
to get a fair share from the industry, Ethiopia has to promote its immense
natural resources, and incorporate them into an exclusively service based
the Travel & Tourist competitiveness Index, Ethiopia ranked 118th out
of 141countries.  However, remarkably it excelled past some big
countries, in many variables. Against
all odds, most African countries depend on their natural resources,
typically on ecotourism. South
Africa and Namibia are good examples; they are gifted by their natural
resources and also have well-established hotels and extensive beach
resorts. Some North African
countries like Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria methodically competed,
due to their geographical advantages and their proximity to Europe.
Some East African countries also get their market shares through
Safari lodges, and have good connections to the international tour and
travel agency networks. Creativity
is more than just being different; Rwanda, one of the landlocked East
African countries, added a new recipe to its tourist economy by
advertising coffee tourism. Brazil,
also one of the major coffee producers in the world, attracted tourists
through farm cafes, with its premium coffee beans.
Coffee has been the economic backbone of Ethiopia for centuries.
As Ethiopia is the home and origin of coffee plant, it could find
new ways to make its own fortune by adding new recipes for coffee, and
many other types of entities, distinctive to Ethiopia.
This may help to change it from an exclusively commodity based
economy to a specialty and service based industry.
be part of the emerging tourist economy, Ethiopia could also enlist itself
into “The Specialty Revolution”. In
any case, Ethiopia should look ways to improve its services from the
record that stationed her 17th in the region.
For this reason, it has to add many new recipes and learn from
others how to compete differently other than the crowded African
ecotourism market. In
addition, it can make aggressive moves and attempt to secure its market
share on the multi-criteria based “World Tour & Travel Index”.
Of course, focus has to be made to the tourist industry’s demands
such as, good business environment, safety and security, efficient tourist
human resource management, competitive prices, well-organized air and
ground transport system, and selection of the finest natural and cultural
present, some Sub-Saharan African countries use media to promote their
tourist industries. Countries
like Kenya, injected about $50million dollars in 2015, to promote tourism
and marketing, targeting Europe, America, Asia, & Africa.  In spite
of these facts, what are the points to improve and be competitive in this
business environment that suits Ethiopia best?
In this regard, considerable attention has to be given to Cultural
Diplomacy, to restore Ethiopia’s inadequately portrayed images, by using
its popular and delicious ethnic-based cuisine.
Ethnic based restaurants are considered the second most influential
public agents of foreign cultures for positive influences.  Of course,
many countries in the world portray their cultures in diversified ways.
Cultural centers like the Indian, Jewish, and Turkish and the
festivities like the German, Irish, and many others in the western world
play significant roles in depicting cultures and promoting tourism.
The bottom line being, all countries endorse their traditions as
their Cultural Ambassadors to their respective countries.
Ethiopian Tourist Industry at a Glance:
has innumerable cultural resources to present to the world.
Beyond doubt, its tourist resources, are indispensable to its
spiking number of youth population, in addition to supporting the
dominantly agro based economy. This
old-new industry, could be inclusive of the wider reach of the general
public, ranging from artisans to street vendors, and from hoteliers to
travel & tour guide agencies. As
it is a multi-faceted commerce, all can benefit from this smokeless
industry. However, there are
many aspects that the country needs to deal with, one example being, the
tourism sector challenges. READ:
The Ethiopian Herald: Ethiopia Tourism Sector Challenges http://allafrica.com/stories/201509072225.htm
and large, Ethiopia’s tourism industry is at its youthful stage, yet it
still injects a considerable amount of foreign currency into the economy.
To maximize this potential, it has to be supported by new ideas and
ideals, from countries with numerous experiences, in the industry.
Evidently, International advertisement is very costly. In
the Ethiopian set of circumstances, the convenience of e-commerce is at
its infancy. The establishment of major car rental companies is crucial.
Automobile associations are also desired, for problem solving, in
the tourist transport sector. Manufacturers
of outdoor industry and All-In-One tourist outlet retail stores have to be
expanded. Major highways &
rail systems make tourist travel safer, faster, and efficient.
Addressing all these factors is a formidable process, and through
time achievable. On the other
hand, for the day to day activities, launching a coordinated strategy on
the multi-course route is crucial, and can lead to the desired goal
quickly. As the guest
Columnist Ben Murray Bruce, once explained, how select nations shifted
their economy away from resources to services said, “by opening up
borders to the world, the UAE’s economy has more than doubled, and
though it is an oil-rich nation, over 30 percent of the Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) comes from the aviation industry, between 10-12 % comes from
the tourists industry. This is
a total of over $180 billion per annum.”
He deliberated culture would make it easier to win the hearts and
minds of tourists.
the Ethiopian perspective, the cooperation between Mexico and Ethiopia, in
the tourist sector, is very encouraging.
Mexico, a “Historical Friend of Ethiopia” with similar
Gastronomy, pledged to share its experience in the tourist industry.
During the fiscal year 2014, Mexico’s tourism revenue reached
about 16bn dollars. The new
emerging economies like Ethiopia could learn a lot from Mexico, Thailand,
and many other model countries. Looking
forward, what types of tourists is Ethiopia excepting to accommodate?
Adventurers: Those who seek new experiences, make their own travel
decision, don’t need to be pampered, and who tend to use credit card for
vacation; Worriers: those who become anxious
with travel; Dreamers: Just plain in love with travel; Economizers: those
having a low sense of adventure and look for value above all; Indulgers:
those who like to be pampered and are willing to pay for a high level of
services when they travel, and who tend to be better off financially, and
Travelers: who may be travelling or visiting a location , or a home
country ( like the Ethiopian diaspora ) for leisure or business.
With the economy growing, Ethiopia may accommodate all the five
categories; however, it can easily oblige the Adventurers, Dreamers, &
Travelers (The Ethiopian Diaspora estimated in millions spends a sizeable
amount of money in remittance backing the export earnings).
Read :< http://www.nation.co.ke/business/Kenya-and-Ethiopia-remittance-inflows-rise/-/996/2938838/-/14mogmk/-/index.html>.
They travel throughout the world for leisure, and could be tapped
as Traveler Tourists. READ:
Ethiopian Tourists http://www.ethiopianreporter.com/index.php/other-sections/social-affairs/social/item/11176-ኢትዮጵያውያን.
addition, seasonal guests, from the neighboring countries, like “The
Djibouti Republic” travel to Ethiopia in significant numbers, annually,
and choose the high altitude, mild Ethiopian weather during their hot
summer periods. These groups,
who are culturally fit in, as well, are also Tourist Travelers, seeking
vacation and leisure. Ethiopia,
on the brink of getting a new electric passenger rail transport system, to
& from The Djibouti Republic, should embrace to host a sizable influx
of these types of tourists to major cities like Dire Dawa, Debrezeit,
& even the capital Addis Ababa. If
the country, skillfully manages to accommodate these two Traveler groups
alone, it can easily come up, in good standing, with other African
countries in tourist records & income revenues.
Some of the points to be concerned may include, the need for
suitable accommodations such as, quality guest houses and cheaper rental
cars. Most tourists from these
Traveler categories seek lodgings for extended stays that surpass the
regular excursion periods. However,
hotels in Ethiopia are considered very expensive by some African and Asian
standards . In this regard,
the hotel Industry associations and chambers of commerce should
determinedly work together to ease high prices, and sustain a constant
flow of a variety of tourists, focusing on the basic theory of economics,
“Turn Over”. Otherwise,
the quality, availability, expenses, and services that travelers receive
from the tourist businesses they patronize affect the overall visitor’s
experience, in the country’s future tourism industry.
study: Culinary Diplomacy a
recipe for tourist attraction, how it works & it is about tourism
can use its “Themed Restaurants”, as Cultural Ambassadors, for soft
power to attract tourists. Many
countries around the globe used this recipe to generate large numbers of
tourists, adopting it as their Cultural Ambassadors to exhibit positive
images of their country. As a
new ideal for Ethiopia, themed restaurants can serve as “agents” for
the tourism economy. Culinary
Diplomacy is part of Cultural Diplomacy that can assist in understanding
the nation. It is a way of
conducting international relations without anticipating anything in
return, in the way that traditional diplomacy expects.
It plants the seeds of ideals, ideas, people to people contact, and
increases commerce.  Themed restaurants can come up with small daily
advertisements and general information guide.
They can also provide important tips on information for excursion
selections along with newsletters, “On What Is New”, in touch with
potential clients in the most inexpensive way.
It has the potential to demonstrate Ethiopia’s national power; it
can create a favorable climate to call attention to its prestige in the
world wide arena.
aids to garner sustainable economics and multiculturalism; and, it
provides employment opportunities for the youthful population.
Countries like Ireland, the Philippines, and Canada have made
significant investments for tourism development, and have seen results
with visitors, as a profitable by product of food tourism and product
Ethiopia has some of the best spicy foods, as does Thailand and Mexico.
In Thailand, the government promoted Thai Food, as an ambassador by
training Thai Chefs, and opening restaurants throughout the world.
Thai cooks also benefited from soft loans.
There were about 5,500 Thai restaurants around the world in 2002,
as part of an ambitious plan called “Global Thai”.
The Thai government boosted this numbers to more than 10,000, in
2013. This helped to introduce
Thai food and persuade more people to visit Thailand, and strengthened
relations with other countries.  Ethiopia can learn a lot from this
strategy, as there are many similarities between these two countries.
the United States, likewise, The State Department, which promotes American
relations overseas, has long understood that culture plays a powerful role
in diplomacy. They said, “We
have Art Diplomacy, Sports Diplomacy, and perhaps most compellingly
Culinary Diplomacy”.  The National Geography once on its publication
stated, “You can make connections around a dinner table you can’t make
around a conference table, and the power of food brings cultures
together.”  Indeed, Ethiopia pioneered Culinary Diplomacy over a
century ago, in 1907, when the country’s first government hotel was
founded by Empress Tayitu, in the Capital Addis Ababa.  It served as a
diplomatic tool to create companionship, at the dinner table, and helped
to promote businesses. This
influence, built up over a century ago harnessed elements of Ethiopian
culture, created commerce, restored diplomacy, and sustained mutual
understanding of different nations, for good will, which has to be
invigorated and multiplied once again.
the Travel & Tourism competitiveness Index, which is the measure of
factors that make it attractive to developing business, Ethiopia achieved
well, in many aspects, as compared to a number of countries?
However, it still needs to work hard in many areas.
The country, has not fully exploited its tremendous tourism
opportunities, and exclusive historical sites.
Few of the shortcomings apparently seen are in E-Commerce,
expensive hotel room accommodations, and limited numbers of guesthouses,
which are important to launch tourism.
Ethiopia should also foster links with the Industry partners,
knowledge partners, and media partners.
On the other hand, tourism promotions are expensive; so far, media
often depict foreign cultures in a stereotypical manner.
In view of that, ethnic-based restaurants are considered the second
most influential public agents of foreign cultures to attract tourists.
Official government sponsored Culinary Diplomacy programs have been
established in many countries; such as, in Thailand, South Korea,
Malaysia, Peru, & the United States.
“Global Thailand” increased Thai restaurants around the world.
It was a cultural, diplomatic, and economic program, where each
Thai Restaurant turned out to be unofficial embassy for Thailand.
In this regard, learning from others success is considered
following their innovation pathway. And
to be successful, Ethiopia has to find countries that have already paid
the price to learn the things that Ethiopia need to learn to achieve its
goals. As Jeff Bezos founder
and CEO of Amazon Co. once said, “We watch our competitors, learn from
them, see what they are doing for customers, and replicate those things as
much as we can.” Therefore,
“Global Ethiopia” should be “Brand Ethiopia” for diplomatic,
cultural, and economic programs. Ethiopia’s
Themed Restaurants can be used as opportunities in the pathway for
test of Ethiopian cuisine could be used to build stronger bonds between
Ethiopia and the rest of the world; it is good for Ethiopia’s business,
it brands the country’s good image around the world, & it increases
International presence. Culinary
tourism, at large, is considered a smart power philosophy and a person to
person diplomatic tool. It can
send a positive message of the nation’s diverse cultural offering to the
world. It also promotes its
landscapes, wildlife, culture and diversification.
Alternatively, it becomes an export income source, and brings
superb foreign revenue in, to support the local economy.
For that reason, campaigns should be made to potential business
areas around the globe, through the soft power of Ethiopia’s
restaurants. The Ethiopian
restaurant business locally and abroad should be encouraged in similar way
to “Global Thailand.” “Global
Ethiopia” should be the motto, in the comprehensive national roadmap for
Ethiopia”, should be dealt, with the involvement of tourism researchers,
practitioners, policymakers, national and international consultants, and
other industry players, within and outside the country, for the expansion
of stronger tourism sector in the country.
Tourism Market trends UNWTO. < http://mkt.unwto.org/barometer>.
World Tours & Travel, 2015.
No Rules, Just Right’ or is it? The Role of Themed Restaurants as
Cultural Ambassadors. By Natalie T. Wood < http://thr.sagepub.com/content/7/3-4/242.short>.
 Seth, Pran Nath. Successful Tourism Management. Tourism Practices, pp.158. <https://books.google.com/books?id=Vs4GM5e0c8C&pg=PA21&dq=tourism++prosperous+how&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAWo
Addis Fortune: Ethiopia New Survey Shows Addis Ababa Hotels Expensive.
Culinary Diplomacy connecting individuals, leaders, and nations through
U.S. Department of State Official Blog.< http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/09/30/culinary-diplomacy-connecting-individuals-leaders-and-nations-through-food>
The Economist: Thailand’s Gastro-Diplomacy. < http://www.economist.com/node/999687>.
State Department mixes it Up with Culinary Outreach
DIPLOMATIC POUCH:< http://washdiplomat.com/DPouch/2013/April1/story1chefs.html>.
Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative-Food Politics.
National Geographic: The Plate, Culinary Diplomacy is on American Menu
Pankhurst, Richard. The Ethiopians: A History (people of Africa) pp.199,
writer recently contributed an article, on The Ground-Water Potential of
the North African Region and the Nile Issue....., where he expressed his
opinions from an academic point of view.
In this piece of writing however, his views originate from
extensive travels in different parts of the world, for leisure and
educational trips. He assumes
his comments may help to promote new insights in the Ethiopian Trousm
Sector, and is fully confident that the literary opinions of others will
elevate the Ethiopian set of circumstances.
He can be reached at: email@example.com
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