Themed Restaurants as Cultural Ambassadors for
Culinary Diplomacy and Recipes for the Tourism
the year 2012, the world registered about 1.035
billion or 1,035 million tourists.
Subsequently, Africa’s share was about 52
As past records showed (2011), Morocco and
South Africa registered about 9.3 & 8.3
million tourists, respectively, while Ethiopia
picked up about 523 thousand tourists. 
Tourism, as a whole, is a service based industry.
It has strict criteria that adhere to
factors, ranging from good business environment to
safety and security.
In order to get a fair share from the
industry, Ethiopia has to promote its immense
natural resources, and incorporate them into an
exclusively service based industry.
the Travel & Tourist competitiveness Index,
Ethiopia ranked 118th out of 141countries. 
However, remarkably it excelled past some big
countries, in many variables.
Against all odds, most African countries
depend on their natural resources, typically on
Africa and Namibia are good examples; they are
gifted by their natural resources and also have
well-established hotels and extensive beach
North African countries like Egypt, Morocco,
Tunisia, and Algeria methodically competed, due to
their geographical advantages and their proximity
to Europe. Some
East African countries also get their market
shares through Safari lodges, and have good
connections to the international tour and travel
Creativity is more than just being
different; Rwanda, one of the landlocked East
African countries, added a new recipe to its
tourist economy by advertising coffee tourism.
Brazil, also one of the major coffee
producers in the world, attracted tourists through
farm cafes, with its premium coffee beans.
Coffee has been the economic backbone of
Ethiopia for centuries.
As Ethiopia is the home and origin of
coffee plant, it could find new ways to make its
own fortune by adding new recipes for coffee, and
many other types of entities, distinctive to
may help to change it from an exclusively
commodity based economy to a specialty and service
be part of the emerging tourist economy, Ethiopia
could also enlist itself into “The Specialty
In any case, Ethiopia should look ways to
improve its services from the record that
stationed her 17th in the region.
For this reason, it has to add many new
recipes and learn from others how to compete
differently other than the crowded African
In addition, it can make aggressive moves
and attempt to secure its market share on the
multi-criteria based “World Tour & Travel
course, focus has to be made to the tourist
industry’s demands such as, good business
environment, safety and security, efficient
tourist human resource management, competitive
prices, well-organized air and ground transport
system, and selection of the finest natural and
cultural touristic attractions.
present, some Sub-Saharan African countries use
media to promote their tourist industries.
Countries like Kenya, injected about
$50million dollars in 2015, to promote tourism and
marketing, targeting Europe, America, Asia, &
Africa.  In spite of these facts, what are the
points to improve and be competitive in this
business environment that suits Ethiopia best?
In this regard, considerable attention has
to be given to Cultural Diplomacy, to restore
Ethiopia’s inadequately portrayed images, by
using its popular and delicious ethnic-based
based restaurants are considered the second most
influential public agents of foreign cultures for
positive influences.  Of course, many countries
in the world portray their cultures in diversified
centers like the Indian, Jewish, and Turkish and
the festivities like the German, Irish, and many
others in the western world play significant roles
in depicting cultures and promoting tourism.
The bottom line being, all countries
endorse their traditions as their Cultural
Ambassadors to their respective countries.
Ethiopian Tourist Industry at a Glance:
has innumerable cultural resources to present to
the world. Beyond
doubt, its tourist resources, are indispensable to
its spiking number of youth population, in
addition to supporting the dominantly agro based
old-new industry, could be inclusive of the wider
reach of the general public, ranging from artisans
to street vendors, and from hoteliers to travel
& tour guide agencies.
As it is a multi-faceted commerce, all can
benefit from this smokeless industry.
However, there are many aspects that the
country needs to deal with, one example being, the
tourism sector challenges.
READ: The Ethiopian Herald: Ethiopia
Tourism Sector Challenges http://allafrica.com/stories/201509072225.htm
and large, Ethiopia’s tourism industry is at its
youthful stage, yet it still injects a
considerable amount of foreign currency into the
maximize this potential, it has to be supported by
new ideas and ideals, from countries with numerous
experiences, in the industry.
Evidently, International advertisement is
very costly. In
the Ethiopian set of circumstances, the
convenience of e-commerce is at its infancy. The
establishment of major car rental companies is
associations are also desired, for problem
solving, in the tourist transport sector.
Manufacturers of outdoor industry and
All-In-One tourist outlet retail stores have to be
highways & rail systems make tourist travel
safer, faster, and efficient.
Addressing all these factors is a
formidable process, and through time achievable.
On the other hand, for the day to day
activities, launching a coordinated strategy on
the multi-course route is crucial, and can lead to
the desired goal quickly.
As the guest Columnist Ben Murray Bruce,
once explained, how select nations shifted their
economy away from resources to services said,
“by opening up borders to the world, the UAE’s
economy has more than doubled, and though it is an
oil-rich nation, over 30 percent of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) comes from the aviation
industry, between 10-12 % comes from the tourists
is a total of over $180 billion per annum.”
He deliberated culture would make it easier
to win the hearts and minds of tourists.
the Ethiopian perspective, the cooperation between
Mexico and Ethiopia, in the tourist sector, is
Mexico, a “Historical Friend of
Ethiopia” with similar Gastronomy, pledged to
share its experience in the tourist industry.
During the fiscal year 2014, Mexico’s
tourism revenue reached about 16bn dollars.
The new emerging economies like Ethiopia
could learn a lot from Mexico, Thailand, and many
other model countries.
Looking forward, what types of tourists is
Ethiopia excepting to accommodate? Adventurers:
Those who seek new experiences, make their own
travel decision, don’t need to be pampered, and
who tend to use credit card for vacation;
Worriers: those who become
anxious with travel; Dreamers: Just plain
in love with travel; Economizers: those having a
low sense of adventure and look for value above
all; Indulgers: those who like to be pampered and
are willing to pay for a high level of services
when they travel, and who tend to be better off
financially, and Travelers: who may be travelling
or visiting a location , or a home country (
like the Ethiopian diaspora ) for leisure or
the economy growing, Ethiopia may accommodate all
the five categories; however, it can easily oblige
the Adventurers, Dreamers, & Travelers (The
Ethiopian Diaspora estimated in millions spends a
sizeable amount of money in remittance backing the
Read :< http://www.nation.co.ke/business/Kenya-and-Ethiopia-remittance-inflows-rise/-/996/2938838/-/14mogmk/-/index.html>.
They travel throughout the world for
leisure, and could be tapped as Traveler Tourists.
READ: Ethiopian Tourists http://www.ethiopianreporter.com/index.php/other-sections/social-affairs/social/item/11176-ኢትዮጵያውያን.
addition, seasonal guests, from the neighboring
countries, like “The Djibouti Republic” travel
to Ethiopia in significant numbers, annually, and
choose the high altitude, mild Ethiopian weather
during their hot summer periods.
These groups, who are culturally fit in, as
well, are also Tourist Travelers, seeking vacation
and leisure. Ethiopia,
on the brink of getting a new electric passenger
rail transport system, to & from The Djibouti
Republic, should embrace to host a sizable influx
of these types of tourists to major cities like
Dire Dawa, Debrezeit, & even the capital Addis
the country, skillfully manages to accommodate
these two Traveler groups alone, it can easily
come up, in good standing, with other African
countries in tourist records & income
of the points to be concerned may include, the
need for suitable accommodations such as, quality
guest houses and cheaper rental cars.
Most tourists from these Traveler
categories seek lodgings for extended stays that
surpass the regular excursion periods.
However, hotels in Ethiopia are considered
very expensive by some African and Asian standards
this regard, the hotel Industry associations and
chambers of commerce should determinedly work
together to ease high prices, and sustain a
constant flow of a variety of tourists, focusing
on the basic theory of economics, “Turn Over”.
Otherwise, the quality, availability,
expenses, and services that travelers receive from
the tourist businesses they patronize affect the
overall visitor’s experience, in the country’s
future tourism industry.
Diplomacy a recipe for tourist attraction, how it
works & it is about tourism
can use its “Themed Restaurants”, as Cultural
Ambassadors, for soft power to attract tourists.
Many countries around the globe used this
recipe to generate large numbers of tourists,
adopting it as their Cultural Ambassadors to
exhibit positive images of their country.
As a new ideal for Ethiopia, themed
restaurants can serve as “agents” for the
Culinary Diplomacy is part of Cultural
Diplomacy that can assist in understanding the
is a way of conducting international relations
without anticipating anything in return, in the
way that traditional diplomacy expects.
It plants the seeds of ideals, ideas,
people to people contact, and increases commerce.
 Themed restaurants can come up with small
daily advertisements and general information
can also provide important tips on information for
excursion selections along with newsletters, “On
What Is New”, in touch with potential clients in
the most inexpensive way.
It has the potential to demonstrate
Ethiopia’s national power; it can create a
favorable climate to call attention to its
prestige in the world wide arena.
aids to garner sustainable economics and
multiculturalism; and, it provides employment
opportunities for the youthful population.
Countries like Ireland, the Philippines,
and Canada have made significant investments for
tourism development, and have seen results with
visitors, as a profitable by product of food
tourism and product development.
Likewise, Ethiopia has some of the best
spicy foods, as does Thailand and Mexico.
In Thailand, the government promoted Thai
Food, as an ambassador by training Thai Chefs, and
opening restaurants throughout the world.
Thai cooks also benefited from soft loans.
There were about 5,500 Thai restaurants
around the world in 2002, as part of an ambitious
plan called “Global Thai”.
The Thai government boosted this numbers to
more than 10,000, in 2013.
This helped to introduce Thai food and
persuade more people to visit Thailand, and
strengthened relations with other countries. 
Ethiopia can learn a lot from this strategy, as
there are many similarities between these two
the United States, likewise, The State Department,
which promotes American relations overseas, has
long understood that culture plays a powerful role
They said, “We have Art Diplomacy, Sports
Diplomacy, and perhaps most compellingly Culinary
Diplomacy”.  The National Geography once on
its publication stated, “You can make
connections around a dinner table you can’t make
around a conference table, and the power of food
brings cultures together.”  Indeed, Ethiopia
pioneered Culinary Diplomacy over a century ago,
in 1907, when the country’s first government
hotel was founded by Empress Tayitu, in the
Capital Addis Ababa.  It served as a
diplomatic tool to create companionship, at the
dinner table, and helped to promote businesses.
This influence, built up over a century ago
harnessed elements of Ethiopian culture, created
commerce, restored diplomacy, and sustained mutual
understanding of different nations, for good will,
which has to be invigorated and multiplied once
the Travel & Tourism competitiveness Index,
which is the measure of factors that make it
attractive to developing business, Ethiopia
achieved well, in many aspects, as compared to a
number of countries?
However, it still needs to work hard in
many areas. The
country, has not fully exploited its tremendous
tourism opportunities, and exclusive historical
of the shortcomings apparently seen are in
E-Commerce, expensive hotel room accommodations,
and limited numbers of guesthouses, which are
important to launch tourism.
Ethiopia should also foster links with the
Industry partners, knowledge partners, and media
the other hand, tourism promotions are expensive;
so far, media often depict foreign cultures in a
In view of that, ethnic-based restaurants
are considered the second most influential public
agents of foreign cultures to attract tourists.
Official government sponsored Culinary
Diplomacy programs have been established in many
countries; such as, in Thailand, South Korea,
Malaysia, Peru, & the United States.
“Global Thailand” increased Thai
restaurants around the world.
It was a cultural, diplomatic, and economic
program, where each Thai Restaurant turned out to
be unofficial embassy for Thailand.
In this regard, learning from others
success is considered following their innovation
to be successful, Ethiopia has to find countries
that have already paid the price to learn the
things that Ethiopia need to learn to achieve its
Jeff Bezos founder and CEO of Amazon Co. once
said, “We watch our competitors, learn from
them, see what they are doing for customers, and
replicate those things as much as we can.”
Therefore, “Global Ethiopia” should be
“Brand Ethiopia” for diplomatic, cultural, and
Ethiopia’s Themed Restaurants can be used
as opportunities in the pathway for development.
test of Ethiopian cuisine could be used to build
stronger bonds between Ethiopia and the rest of
the world; it is good for Ethiopia’s business,
it brands the country’s good image around the
world, & it increases International presence.
Culinary tourism, at large, is considered a
smart power philosophy and a person to person
It can send a positive message of the
nation’s diverse cultural offering to the world.
It also promotes its landscapes, wildlife,
culture and diversification.
Alternatively, it becomes an export income
source, and brings superb foreign revenue in, to
support the local economy.
For that reason, campaigns should be made
to potential business areas around the globe,
through the soft power of Ethiopia’s
Ethiopian restaurant business locally and abroad
should be encouraged in similar way to “Global
Ethiopia” should be the motto, in the
comprehensive national roadmap for tourism.
“Global Ethiopia”, should be dealt,
with the involvement of tourism researchers,
practitioners, policymakers, national and
international consultants, and other industry
players, within and outside the country, for the
expansion of stronger tourism sector in the
Tourism Market trends UNWTO. < http://mkt.unwto.org/barometer>.
World Tours & Travel, 2015.
The East African. < http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Kenya-to-launch--50m-global-tourism-campaign-/-/2558/2852650/-/
No Rules, Just Right’ or is it? The Role of
Themed Restaurants as Cultural Ambassadors. By
Natalie T. Wood < http://thr.sagepub.com/content/7/3-4/242.short>.
Seth, Pran Nath. Successful Tourism Management.
Tourism Practices, pp.158. <https://books.google.com/books?id=Vs4GM5e0c8C&pg=PA21&dq=tourism++prosperous+how&hl=en&sa
Addis Fortune: Ethiopia New Survey Shows Addis
Ababa Hotels Expensive. <http://allafrica.com/stories/201509071484.html>.
Culinary Diplomacy connecting individuals,
leaders, and nations through food
U.S. Department of State Official Blog.< http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/09/30/culinary-diplomacy-connecting-individuals-leaders-and-nations-
The Economist: Thailand’s Gastro-Diplomacy. <
State Department mixes it Up with Culinary
DIPLOMATIC POUCH:< http://washdiplomat.com/DPouch/2013/April1/story1chefs.html>.
Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative-Food
National Geographic: The Plate, Culinary Diplomacy
is on American Menu < http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/04/25/culinary-diplomacy-is-on-americas-menu/>.
Pankhurst, Richard. The Ethiopians: A History
(people of Africa) pp.199, 2001.
writer recently contributed an article, on The
Ground-Water Potential of the North African Region
and the Nile Issue....., where he expressed his
opinions from an academic point of view.
In this piece of writing however, his views
originate from extensive travels in different
parts of the world, for leisure and educational
assumes his comments may help to promote new
insights in the Ethiopian Trousm Sector, and is
fully confident that the literary opinions of
others will elevate the Ethiopian set of
He can be reached at: email@example.com