Tourism Organisation Gets Consultant as New Boss

Lensa Mekonnen, an event organiser and consultant, has become Ethiopian Tourism Organisation’s third CEO.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) assigned Lensa for the position two weeks ago, replacing Yohannes Tilahun, who was removed from his post following a dispute between members of the former Tourism Board and the organisation. Lensa, who reported to the office last Monday, fills the position left vacant for six months after the departure of Yohannes.

Before moving to the organisation, Lensa managed her own two companies; Aida Event & Design and Lensa Mekonnen CMR for the last five years. Aida Event & Design is an event management and interior design firm established with 80,000 Br of capital. Prior to establishing her businesses, she was working at Synergos Institute for three years in different capacities. She was also an administrative assistant to the Regional Director of Oxfam America, Horn of Africa Regional Office.

Lensa holds a degree in Business Administration & Information Systems from Addis Abeba University. She also obtained a masters degree in leadership from the University of South Africa. She is currently making her way through a masters degree in International & Global Studies at Addis Abeba University’s Institute for Peace & Security Studies. She will finish and graduate next year.

A month and a half ago, Prime Minister Abiy assigned Sertse Feresebehat, a 36-year old musician, as a deputy CEO of the tourism organisation, replacing Yechale Mihret (PhD). Sertse has been the acting CEO until Lensa assumed her post early last week.

“The new appointees will aggressively work on building the image of the country,” Fitsum Arega, chief of staff at the Office of the Prime Minister, told Fortune.

Solomon Tadesse, an expat from the United States, was the founding CEO of the organisation until he was replaced by Yohannes, after serving ETO for three years. Yohannes took the post in April 2017 and worked for a year before he was sacked following the controversy of him receiving a double salary from the government and the United Nations Development Program.

“What happened in the past is already gone,” said Fistum. “We are on a new path.”

The organisation was established in 2014 along with the Tourism Transformation Council, both designed to transform the tourism industry of the country. Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has formed the two entities with the aim of transforming the tourism sector.

During the past fiscal year, Ethiopia earned 3.5 billion dollars from 934,000 visitors who visited the country. For the new fiscal year, the Ministry of Culture & Tourism plans to attract 1.25 million tourists.


Published on Aug 11,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 954]



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