PROJECT-E presented itself at the Hotel Show Africa – not only an opportunity to strengthen existing ties to the tourist industry but also to extend a network of possible supporters and marvel at a prominent figure.
After a long interval of planning and organizing, the Hotel Show Africa finally opened its doors from June 9th to 12th in the Millenium Hall in Bole. The event was hosted for the fourth time and has constantly grown since the first hosting. Thanks to Mr. Kumneger, who greatly supports our organization, we were not only participants but exhibitors at this year’s show. He organized a booth for us and promoted PROJECT-E as an exhibitor upfront to increase our public awareness.
In addition, the Hotel Show Africa partnered with the MICE East Africa Expo & Forum, which further increased the number of participants as well as exhibitors. We were lucky that Martina Warter took notice of PROJECT-E because of a Facebook post previous to the event. Ms. Martina is the CEO of the MICE Media Marketing and was so impressed by our work that she published an article about our institute in her newsletter, which reached more than unbelievable 30,000 people all over the world. Due to this tremendous support from both organizers, our motivation and excitement grew with every day over the past weeks.
On Thursday morning the show finally started. Livia, Fetenech, Nebeyou and Helen worked on the setup of the booth, arranging the table and its cloths and thereby promoting our quality standard. The exhibitors at every booth were busy building up and decorating when suddenly the first visitors were already walking on the aisles. At around 10 am an announcement informed the visitors and exhibitors to join the official opening ceremony. The presenter gave a “Thank you” – speech to the organizers and the different ministers that made this event happen. Afterwards, the Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome went up the stage to welcome the participants of the event and talked about the development of his country. Neither of us had assumed him to be there, so we were all highly impressed. He finished his speech and followed the people to cut the ribbon to officially open the show ceremonially. Surrounded by the exhibitors rushing back to their booths, we made the way back to the PROJECT-E setup and got ready to welcome our first guests.
Our booth was visited by many participants, who were all delighted by our work and vision. We were able to establish new contacts with the attending hotels and to convince important representatives from the hospitality sector with our educational program. Once again, we realized the huge demand for well educated, high quality staff in the industry and were proud to be able to present the results of our great work in place: Our students supported us in groups of two or three in a two-shift system every day. It was a valuable training for them to talk to strangers about PROJECT-E and to introduce themselves as potential employees for the future. Moreover, the visitors could get a direct impression of our students and highly appreciated their presentation and professionalism.
During the conversations with our visitors many new cooperation ideas were raised. We are now in contact with different media companies to publish articles and broadcast a documentary about our students, work and approach. Among the representatives of travel and tourism agencies we were able to find potential guest speakers and the local circus in Addis seems to be the perfect partner to introduce acrobatic activities to the students. Various social organizations showed their interest in a partnership with PROJECT-E and some might even introduce us to their donators in order to coordinate combined requests for donations.
To conclude, the Hotel Show Africa & MICE East Africa Expo & Forum was a huge success for PROJECT-E. We are curious about the impact our new contacts will bring to us and what connections will be established in the future. Furthermore, we cannot wait to come back next year to see even more participants and exhibitors because PROJECT-E is already guaranteed another booth at the fifth Hotel Show Africa by Mr. Kumneger in 2017.