The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) led 40 tour operator members and guests to Ethiopia this week for the organization's annual out-of-country board meeting. Beginning on Sunday, March 24, the delegation's seven-day visit included an exploration of the country's capital of Addis Ababa, press conferences and a donation to the Zoma Museum School.
Planned three years ago, Ethiopian Airlines and USTOA jointly decided to move forward with the scheduled events in spite of the recent tragic crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 with 157 people onboard. Because of the incident, a number of countries grounded the relatively new type of aircraft.
The week of the meeting kicked off with an industry event hosted by Ethiopian Airlines on March 26, which was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor. Tourism partners met with the USTOA members during a working reception followed by a dinner. On March 30, President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde met with the USTOA to discuss the tourism industry and future opportunities for continued growth. The company says the visit was not only to meet with industry leaders and partners, but to educate themselves about Ethiopia and discover how their members can grow their current travel programs.