Experts Rank Ethiopia’s Coffee Among Best

January 21, 2015

Marthe van der Wolf

Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride.

International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup. They keep coming back to Ethiopia, where importers like Morton Wennersgaard say the climate produces quality coffee beans.

“You have different ancient varieties referred to as Ethiopian heirdom. They are grown in places with perfect soil, perfect altitude, and micro climates that are really suitable for coffee processing, such as drying and things like that,” he explains.

Finding the best beans is a matter of taste, literally. The intense process is known as cupping – tasting and comparing coffee from different roasted beans, grading and then pricing them.

Coffee labs

But before international experts come to taste, coffee beans go through analysis in small coffee labs, where Helen Assefa describes the process.

“When the coffee comes to the lab, we assess the coffee quality first by recording the details. Then we weigh the moisture level and we screen the beans for analysis. After that we grind the coffee beans and taste the samples. At the end we check for defective beans,” Assefa explains.

And that screening is a very difficult and lengthy process, says lab worker Mubarik Abaoli.

“We sort out the defects manually, by hand. And we sort out the defect according to the defect types. The types are immature, paste damage, foxy, black – all has to be sorted out according to the severity of the defects,” Mubarik Abaoli says.

Cashing in abroad

Nevertheless, Ethiopia is cashing in on its coffee reputation with consumers in more than 120 countries and a yearly export revenue of more than $840 million.

But not all the best coffee leaves Ethiopia. With 40 percent of the coffee production consumed at home, it remains an important part of everyday life at work, at home and at ceremonies just to celebrate that special cup.


Ethiopian Airlines to Expand Service to Dublin and Los Angeles

January 19, 2015


Good news for international travelers toEurope, California and Africa: Ethiopian Airlines has finalized preparations to commence flights to Dublin and Los Angeles starting from June 2015.

Ethiopian flights to Dublin and Los Angeles will be operated three times a week with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The flights will be the only direct service connecting Africa with Ireland and the West Coast of the United States. The flights will also be the only direct service between Dublin and Los Angeles.

“Our new flights connecting Addis Ababa, Dublin and Los Angeles will play a critical role in the expansion of trade and tourism investment between the fast-growing continent of Africa, the United States and Ireland,” Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, said in a statement. “As these flights will be the first and only direct air route linking Africa with Ireland and the West Coat of the U.S., they will bring these two seemingly distant cities much closer to Africa and will facilitate mobility and connectivity for businesses and the large African Diaspora community living in the West Coast of the United States.”

With the addition of Dublin, the airline’s 11th European city, and Los Angeles, its fourth point in the Americas, the Ethiopian Airlines international network will cover 85 destinations across five continents.

Ethiopian currently serves 83 international destinations across five continents with over 200 daily departures.

Source: Trave agent central

IMEX America hits new highs and more growth

October 8, 2014

The fourth edition of IMEX America, the largest trade show for the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry in the US, will be 13 percent bigger when doors open on Oct 14 at the Sands Expo®, Las Vegas.

Both hosted buyer numbers and the number of US and international attendees are also expected to exceed last year’s levels.

On the show floor, the growth is reflected in new exhibitors as well as larger booths from some key global suppliers. USA & Canadian representation has increased by 16.5 percent; Latin America by 6.5 percent; Europe by 3 percent and Asia-Pacific by nearly 8 percent.

In other areas of the show, hotel groups are up by 26 percent; private sector companies by 37.5 percent, technology suppliers by 20 percent and incentive products by 50 percent.

70 new booths also add to the line-up of new global and US exhibitors giving buyers an even broader perspective on the marketplace.

83 of the show’s previous exhibitors have increased the size of their booths and of these over half have expanded their booths by 50 percent.

Looking ahead to the show’s opening day, Ray Bloom, Chairman of the IMEX Group stated: “The fourth IMEX America is set to offer increased business opportunities for the US and global meetings and events industry. Aside from the confirmed growth in exhibitor numbers and the expanded show floor, we are set to bring in even more hosted buyers and more attendees next week. Anticipation is high and we’re looking forward to a packed show with its usual strong focus on business appointments, networking and, of course, high quality education.”

IMEXlive and Live TV

There will be a number of different ways to stay up to date with IMEX America during the show. IMEXlive, sponsored by Hilton Worldwide and The Events Network on, will provide rolling video interviews and social media coverage (#IMEX14) on the IMEX America homepage and via the show app. IMEX America TV live will broadcast daily from the show floor at 12 noon Eastern Time (produced by Sonic Foundry, PRG and CNTV). Daily TV headlines will also be broadcast on the IMEX YouTube channel and in the hotel rooms of the host hotels, The Venetian ® | The Palazzo®, on channel 3.

IMEX America starts with its traditional preshow day of professional development and education – Smart Monday, powered by MPI on Monday Oct 13. This is followed by the three-day trade show starting Oct 14. IMEX America takes place at the Sands Expo®, Las Vegas.

Visitors who haven’t registered in advance can still register in-person and onsite for no charge.

Source: ETN

Is ISIS planning a terror attack on Buddhism and the travel and tourism industry in Indonesia?

August 23, 2014

Is ISIS attacking the travel and tourism industry? The Borobudur Temple is a major landmark for travel and tourism to Indonesia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Indonesian police have been put on alert at the Borobudur Temple after a threat against the world’s biggest Buddhist was made on Facebook by Islamic State supporters.

The threat was posted on a Facebook account under the title ‘We Are Islamic State’ – apparently the one of Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) followers – on August 15.

It read, “God willing, [Borobudur] will be demolished by Islamic caliphate mujahidin!”

Tightening security around Borobudur was not the only measure taken, as police in Central Java province also begun thoroughly searching through data from the Internet for possible clues about the plan, National Police spokesman Ronny F. Sompie told the Jakarta Post on Friday.

Following the reports of the threat, Borobudur Conservation Agency had prepared for the imminent bombing with increased number of security personnel within and around the temple, said the head of the agency, Marsis Sutopo.

The Indonesian army has also been involved. Earlier this week, commander of the Diponegoro Military Command, operating in two Java districts, Major-General Sunindyo confirmed readiness to back up security around the temple.

Built in Central Java in the IX century, Borobudur is known as the largest and one of the most important Buddhist monuments in the world. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1991, after major renovation works. With over 500 Buddha statues, it serves not only as a key tourist attraction in Indonesia, but also as a pilgrimage site for Mahayana Buddhists from all over the world.

Source ETN


Changi Airport welcomes the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines

January 8, 2014


By Theodore Koumelis

SINGAPORE – Changi Airport Group (CAG) welcomed the arrival of Ethiopian Airlines, the latest addition to the family of airlines operating at Singapore Changi Airport. The East African carrier will operate a thrice-weekly service between Singapore and the capital city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia via Bangkok, utilising the 234-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft in a two-class configuration.

To commemorate this new link, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Taddesse Haileand Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Mr. Lee Yi Shyan, were on board the inaugural flight that landed at Changi yesterday at 1811 hours. They were accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer for Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, among other senior government showing strong support for bilateral Ethiopia-Singapore ties, the Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Singapore, His Excellency Seyoum Mesfin, was also present to welcome Ethiopian’s first flight to Singapore.

The emerging African market Singapore shares strong economic ties with Africa. The African continent’s accelerated growth in recent years has stimulated domestic consumption, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Trade flows between Singapore and Africa has flourished at a compounded annual growth rate of 20% since 2009, and registered S$13.8 billion in value last year.

Singapore is also Africa’s largest ASEAN investor, with significant investments in the sectors of consumer products, water preservation and construction. Similarly, African companies have been progressively using Singapore as a springboard to venture into the
burgeoning Asia-Pacific region.

In terms of passenger movements, point-to-point traffic between Africa and Southeast Asia has grown steadily over the past five years. More than 1.08 million passengers travelled between these two regions in the 12 months ending September 2013, an increase of about 45% from the corresponding period five years ago.

CAG’s Executive Vice President for Air Hub & Development, Mr. Yam Kum Weng, said, “We are proud to welcome one of Africa’s fastest growing and most reputable airlines to Changi Airport. Ethiopia is one of Africa’s largest economies, with its GDP growing faster than the rest of the continent. More significantly, the cooperation between Ethiopian Airlines and Singapore Airlines not only connects Singapore with Ethiopia but also on a broader scale, Southeast Asia, Southwest Pacific with the entire Eastern and Central Africa region. This cooperation will further strengthen Singapore’s air hub position.”

Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said, “Singapore’s strength and competitiveness as a well-connected aviation hub is the primary reason behind our decision to utilize Singapore as the gateway to Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Code share agreements with Star Alliance partners such as Singapore Airlines will offer Ethiopian Airlines the opportunity to extend our network to Australia. This new connection will contribute to the strengthening of trade, investment and tourism ties between a booming Ethiopia and a highly developed, innovative and business-friendly Singapore.”

Addis Ababa is a new city link for Changi Airport and follows the addition of Mandalay, Kalibo, Jinan and Lijiang to Changi’s network this year.

Discover the wonders of Africa

Holiday-makers in Singapore who are looking for exciting and exotic destinations can now consider exploring Ethiopia’s stunning natural landscapes and the unique cultural experiences from the birthplace of coffee. The carrier’s new Singapore service provides travelers with unparalleled access to explore more points in the African continent such as Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Luanda and Dar es Salaam.

With an end-of-day departure out of Singapore and Addis Ababa, Ethiopian’s flight schedule is also specially timed to meet business travel needs. Business travelers will appreciate the early morning arrival into Addis Ababa to connect to 50 major cities in the airline’s dense intra-Africa network.


Ethiopia by Helicopter

December 2, 2013


Tropic Air is a small, privately owned business, set up in the early 1990′s with the vision to open up northern Kenya to visitors. Today, Tropic Air is one of Kenya’s best recognized and leading air charter company, operating single engine Cessna aircraft and helicopters, offering trips in Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Extraordinary Journeys is excited to be able to partner with Tropic Air to provide unforgettable trips to Ethiopia and Kenya by helicopter. This trips not only provide stunning scenery and incredible access to remote locations with expert pilot/guides but also offer travelers the chance for  spontaneous and authentic interactions with local communities you meet along the way. To book contact

Day 1 ~ Addis Ababa

Sheraton Addis

Your expedition begins in the Ethiopian capital – Addis Ababa.  Addis Ababa is the fourth largest city in Africa – a melting pot of cultures and a bizarre combination of past and present – Italian Fascist buildings sit alongside luxurious high rise hotels; priests in medieval robes mix with African bureaucrats and wandering minstrels singing songs that are centuries-old. Around the corner, neon signs light up modern bars and discotheques beat with the latest global hits.

Here you will meet your pilot (one of three who run all of the Ethiopia trips) and your helicopter. Depending on your arrival time, there is plenty to do during the day with options to enjoy a city tour and go to the National Museum, which houses the 3.5 million year-old skeleton of ‘Lucy’ – the oldest hominid ever found. Traditional song houses and local markets can also be visited. The Ristorante Castelli restaurant is a great option for dinner -serving excellent Italian cuisine.

Day 2 & 3 ~ Lalibela via Blue Nile Gorge


Today you depart for Lalibela, following the Blue Nile Gorge through truly stunning landscapes. In the company of an expert guide, you willvisit some of the famous 12th century rock-hewn churches.

You will arrive in Lalibela mid morning. In the company of a local guide, you will visit some of the famous 12th century rockhewn churches. The city of Lalibela is, together with Axum, one of the two most important holy cities in Ethiopia, due to its famous rock-hewn churches, the largest monolithic rock-hewn buildings in the world. The city and its churches are considered have been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The city was constructed by King Lalibela of the short ruling Zagwe dynasty after the fall of the Axumite Empire around the 11th century. The churches were carved out of the red granite rock of the Lasta Mountains in only 40 years. Many of the churches are connected with each other by means of narrow underground passages. In the caves and passages and in the churches, priests and monks can be found reading the Holy Bible and praying. Each church has its own unique architectural style and most are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The most elaborate and most famous church is the Bete Giorgis church, in the shape of a perfect Greek cross.

Today, it is not only the physical structures that remain frozen in time, but a place of pilgrimage for many of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians.

Overnight at Mountain View Hotel. P1000533

Day 4

This morning you head north enjoying a spectacular flight following the course of the Tekeze River.  The Tekezé River has created one of the world’s deepest canyons – over 2000 feet in places.

In mid-morning you will land in the Simien Mountains. At 4,543 meters (almost 15,000 feet), the Simiens are Ethiopia’s highest range, home to the fascinating Gelada baboon, elusive Ethiopian Wolf and the endemic Walia Ibex. A vehicle will meet you, and you will spend time enjoying the unique life in these remote mountains.

Accommodation for the next 4 nights will be at Gheralta Lodge, your base to explore the Siemen Mountains, the Dankil Depression and Tigray.

Day 5

With a picnic breakfast on board, you embark on a dawn flight to the Simiens. With the sun behind you, the jagged spires and pinnacles are an impressive sight. Lammergerie vultures are found exclusively in mountainous terrain, and we often have great sightings of them soaring overhead. After a picnic breakfast, you will IMG_6562

continue onto the fascinating town of Aksum – famous for Stellae (granite monuments). The ruins of the a ncient city of Aksum mark the heart of a ncient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksu m was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roma n Empire & Persia. Pilgrims still journey to Aksum and the majority of Ethiopians passionately believe that the Ark of the Covenant resides here. In the afternoon you will explore the Tigray region and some of its incredible rock-hewn churches, believed to date back to the 6th  or 7th Century.

Overnight at Gheralta Lodge.

Day 6

This morning you head for the Danakil Depression – a place of acid lakes, volcanoes and giant salt pans. More than 100 meters (330 feet) below sea level, the Danakil Depression is peppered with colourful sulphurous springs, acid lakes, active volcanoes and giant IMG_6498salt pans. Some of the hottest temperatures known to man are found here in the Danakil Depression. Unlike anything else on this planet, this extraordinary place is located on a geographical fault within the Great Rift Valley, at the Horn of Africa. On route you may catch sight of camel trains belonging to the Afar nomadic people. You will also visit Irta Ale a volcano in a state of continuous eruption since 1967  and the most famous of the Danakil Depression’s volcanoes.

Overnight at Gheralta Lodge.

Day 7

Today you will continue your exploration of the churches of the Tigray region. The amazing rock-hewn churches are perched on top of steep hills, or carved into cliff faces only accessible by narrowDanakil_2foot paths which scale up the edge of the hills. Very little is known about the origin of the 120 year old rock churches or their architectural history. Local tradition attributes most of the churches to the 4th century Aksumite Kings, Abreha and Atsbeha. Inside many of the churches are colourful frescoes – hundreds of years old. The priests who live on these mountains follow a simple life that revolves around the Orthodox Christian calendar.You exploration will be lead by an exception local guide who provides unique access to the churches and their ancient artifacts. Only by helicopter is it possible to see all eight of the regions most famous churches in a day (they are several hours on foot apart from one another).

Overnight at Gheralta LodgeIMG_4665

Day 8

Today you will return to Addis Ababa – the final journey of our adventure follows the western wall of the Great Rift Valley. Spend a night at the Sheraton Hotel before departing the next day.

In addition to this program we also have an 8 day Kenya  by helicopter program and 3 day helicopter program in Northern Kenya which can be built into a longer trip. We also welcome the opportunity to work with you to build your perfect trip!

For more information email


Expo 2020 may prove Dubai’s defining moment

November 23, 2013

Dubai -skyline

Will we? Won’t we? That’s the question that’s been on the lips of Dubai residents during the last few weeks. In the bid for the greatest trade show on earth, the issue of whether Dubai will win the Expo 2020 has dominated newspapers, water coolers, TV reports – and, of course, the business fraternity. Holding the world’s fair would be Dubai’s defining moment, marking the transformation of the emirate into a top global centre for tourism, trade and finance.
In the last 18 months, the emirate has hauled itself out of the economic crisis, looking at brighter times ahead.
Apartment prices have jumped over 20 per cent in the past 12 months and the stock market has grown by 79 per cent this year.
The emirate has already done a great job of souping up its collosal airports, building slick hotels and welcoming millions of visitors to its trade centre, but Dubai’s ever-shrewd government knows that the Expo would be the fillip that elevates the emirate to the big time.
With its enviable position at the heart of the world, Dubai is also blessed with the necessary infrastructure, creativity and drive to put on a spectacular show.


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