The winglet of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 is seen as it sits grounded at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Saturday, March 23, 2019. The chief of Ethiopian Airlines says the warning and training requirements set for the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
INTERNATIONAL -The Ethiopian Airlines Group on Thursday commended Ethiopia's recently introduces e-visa platform for augmenting the East African country's potential as a conference hub.

"In the past few years, Ethiopia has taken significant strides towards making travel simple and seamless. The launch of an e-visa service for all international visitors is chief among the measures taken," Ethiopia's flag carrier said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Ethiopia's e-visa service, which was introduced as part of a national initiative to transform Ethiopia's tourism sector, "allows international tourists to enjoy hassle-free visa processing which saves their time, energy and cost," the statement read.

The online visa application platform was launched by Ethiopia's immigration authorities in partnership with the Ethiopian Airlines Group in June last year, with an aim to facilitate visa application procedures for international visitors.

"The online service has made travel to Ethiopia convenient, dependable and easy," Ethiopian Airlines said, adding that between July 2018 and June 2019, tens of thousands of travelers have secured their visa online to attend conferences in the East African country.

The airlines also stressed that Ethiopian government ministries, regional and international organizations as well as non-governmental organizations are "already reaping the benefits of online visa services for conference participants."

Ethiopia's e-visa service allows conference participants to process their visa online by uploading the invitation letter on the e-visa website, once conference organizers issue authorized invitation.

The online visa application platform also allows applicants to pay visa processing fees through online payment solutions, as part of its ambition to ease visa application procedures.

Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, which hosts the headquarters of different regional, continental and international organizations such as the African Union (AU) Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, is a key place in Africa's socio-economic and diplomatic meetings and conferences.

"With convenient e-visa service, expanding conference facilities, and an ever-growing flag-carrier with seamless service, Ethiopia is set to hold a prime spot on the global map of conferences and exhibitions in the years to come," Ethiopian Airlines Group said.

"The e-visa service marks a quantum leap on the part of Ethiopia, and underscores the country's commitment to easing its visa services for international tourists who travel to the country," the airlines added.

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