PROJECT-E was part of the largest hospitality and tourism event in Ethiopia and one of the biggest in Africa that took place from 8th to 11th June 2017 – the Hotel Show Africa (HSA). It was established with the “vision to create and build an international hospitality and tourism event, recognised contently and in the global hospitality and tourism arena, with an Ethiopian foundation and identity”. HSA is a platform for bridging the gap between developers, importers and suppliers of hospitality equipment as well as knowledge transfer, service, continental hospitality and tourism business. The Meetings, Incentives Travel, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) East Africa Forum was also held in conjunction with the HSA. So, the merging of MICE and the HSA was an even greater circumstance for PROJECT-E to extend its network.
This year marked PROJECT-E’s second year participating at the HSA, presenting the organisation and our project to a diverse audience. Our good acquaintances with the organiser was an entry point to receiving an exhibition booth as a donation by the founder of Ozzi Hospitality and Business Group Mr. Kumneger Teketel, the host of HAS and MICE 2017. Thank you, Mr Teketel, for supporting PROJECT-E once again!
PROJECT-E arrived at the HSA with the objective of creating awareness of our work to the hospitality industry as well as to the private and public sector. Additionally, we aimed at providing the students a platform to share their experiences of PROJECT-E and network as individuals that are part of the hospitality industry labour force. Due to the commitment of the staff and the students during the four-day event, PROJECT-E was successful in meeting those objectives.
The representatives of PROJECT-E at the booth thrived at attracting a large and diverse audience. While tending the booth, all sorts of questions were posed, one even asked: “If you are an NGO, what are you doing at a hotel show?”. This was a fair question because the event was mainly attended by companies marketing and selling their services and products. Thus, being one of two non-governmental organisations (NGO) present, PROJECT-E was intriguing to most visitors. A few asked: “Why is your project only for women?” – We politely replied that women and children still present the most destitute group in Ethiopia. The staff and students had an answer for every question and they were able to tap into people’s emotions. Those who were not aware of PROJECT-E before visiting our booth, walked away appreciating, loving and supporting the work we are doing.
To be able to inspire strangers is a wonderful feeling – a feeling that we all embraced while participating at the HAS. Being back at the PEHI after fruitful but also exhausting exhibition days, PROJECT-E was inundated with phone calls from various individuals wanting to know more or support the project. Two of them were actually able to come and visit the Institute and we cannot stress enough how encouraging it was to receive words of support and recognition for PROJECT-E. Portraying their passion, the staff and the students had an exciting time building on an existing network, meet new people and catch up with hold friends.
Written by Sena Kinati