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Ethiopia’s airport spring festival to excite travelers

Travelers find delight in Ethiopian airport's Spring Festival celebration

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A special Chinese New Year celebration was organized recently at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, for travelers, providing warmth and a sense of homecoming for Chinese nationals.

The event, which took place Tuesday, also marked the resumption of celebrations after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Ethiopian Airlines, the event organizer.

According to the lunar Chinese calendar, the New Year of 2024 starts on Feb. 10, when people of Chinese origin celebrate the Spring Festival.

Tuesday’s celebration featured a variety of distinctive Chinese cultural activities, allowing Chinese travelers to feel at home and experience a glimpse of the vibrant atmosphere of the Chinese New Year at one of the largest and busiest airports in Africa.

As part of the celebration, hundreds of Chinese passengers participated in on-site dumpling making, prize collection, and lucky draws, while Chinese flight boarding gates were decorated with Spring Festival couplets, lanterns, and other traditional Chinese cultural elements.

Senior Ethiopian government officials and members of the Chinese diplomatic community in Ethiopia joined the celebration at the airport with travelers from around the world.

Mesfin Tassew, chief executive officer (CEO) of Ethiopian Airlines, emphasized the airline’s commitment to becoming the most Chinese-friendly airline in Africa. He highlighted the airline’s role in enhancing Sino-African socioeconomic and people-to-people connectivity.

“China is an important market for Ethiopian Airlines. The Chinese people are our good friends, our good customers, and we are here to join them in celebrating the New Year holiday and to say congratulations on the New Year,” Tassew said.

Wishing a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year to Chinese nationals worldwide, the CEO reaffirmed the Ethiopian flag carrier’s dedication to strengthening its alliance with Chinese passengers.

“Ethiopian Airlines has been flying to China for the past 51 years. We fly about 35 passenger flights to China every week, transporting thousands of Chinese customers every day between China and Africa,” Tassew added.

As part of its ambition to provide a Chinese-friendly travel experience, Ethiopian Airlines offers Chinese-centered passenger services, including a dedicated counter for Chinese travelers at the airport.

Shen Qinmin, minister counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, commended Ethiopian Airlines for hosting the colorful Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in particular and providing an unparalleled travel experience for Chinese passengers in general.

“I would like to thank Ethiopian Airlines for providing the best quality services to its customers, including our Chinese passengers. Addis Ababa is a hub for Chinese passengers coming from China to all other African countries,” Shen said.

Shen further acknowledged Ethiopian Airlines for its role in connecting China and the wider African continent.

“Ethiopian Airlines is truly a great gateway for all Chinese people to come to Africa. It is a gate of hospitality, a gate of warmth, and a gate of friendship,” he said.

Shen’s acknowledgment was echoed by two Chinese nationals who were in transit from the Democratic Republic of the Congo back to China.

“I have been working in Congo for a long time. It’s rare to have Chinese food over there. But we are having dumplings here at the Bole airport free of charge, thanks to the celebration. I already feel the Spring Festival atmosphere before landing in China,” said one of the passengers who failed to identify himself.

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