These New Luxury Lodges May Just Boost Ethiopia’s Tourism
By Sharelle Burt
Thanks to some local industry leaders who are eager to make a change, tourism in Ethiopia may be on the come up soon.
One of the causes for the lull in tourism to Ethiopia is the lack of lodges and accommodations, but two new projects called Limalimo Lodge and Korkor Lodge are looking to change that, bringing a more luxury feel to the area. Limalimo Lodge is an eco-lodge built in the Simien Mountains with rammed earth, wood and thatch, and is run on renewable resources. So far, the new lodge has brought in a mixture of tourists including well-traveled, affluent and older Northern Europeans, travelers working in the diplomatic industry in Addis Ababa, and native Ethiopians eager to see more of their own country.
The Korkor Lodge is also an eco-friendly space but the feel is a little different. Korkor sits at the bottom of the Gheralta Mountains in the Eastern Tigray region of Ethiopia surrounded by rock-carved churches, archaeological sites, and breathtaking plains. The lodge itself has a dozen bungalows designed in honor of the original Tigrinia homes.
“Luxury tourism in Ethiopia is still in its infancy, especially when compared to neighboring Kenya and other countries in the region, which have a longer history in tourism,” Limalimo Lodge operations manager Julia Jeans says. “However, the scene is changing and new lodges are being established, which is increasing the options available to the luxury market.”
While the two lodges hope to bring more prosperity to the country, more needs to be done in order to be successful, like hiring people and getting supplies to make things run smoothly, a task that can be difficult given the location. Since the resorts are located in remote regions, it makes it harder to access high-quality supplies. And while it can be a pain getting necessary items like mattresses and bedding from abroad, there is a plus side. The lodge uses local vendors and more than 90 percent of Limalimo’s staff come directly from nearby communities.
“We decided to focus locally and only buy what is available in the area,” Jeans said. “We buy from the local community whenever possible, and the rest comes from Gondar which is located 100 kilometers away.”
Other aspects play a key role in the rise of Ethiopian tourism, like a 50-room hotel in the city of Gondo. To help travelers get there, Ethiopia Airways have been opening more flight routes to Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia.