Saturday, August 11, 2007
GHANA, GAMBIA PLAN COMMON TOURISM STRATEGIES
By: GEORGINA QUAITTOO
TOURISM is a complex industry dominated by multinational companies.
To promote the industry, there is the need for countries to collaborate and share experiences with one another for the individual countries to reap the benefits in tourism.
It was against this backdrop of sharing experiences that the Ghana-Gambia collaboration was launched during a delegates meeting last Wednesday in Accra for the mutual benefits of the two countries.
The meeting was organized by the Ghana Tourism Federation, the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan relations and the Ghana Tourist Board.
In all 12 delegates from the Gambia attended the meeting. The Ghanaian delegates included some members from the indigenous Caterers Association, Ghana Association of Industries, (AGI), Ghana Hotel Association (GH) and the West Africa Tourism Union (WATU).
Prior to the meeting, a Ghanaian delegation visited their Gambian counterparts in Gambia recently for a week where a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed to cement the bond that existed between the two countries.
In an address the Deputy Director of Ghana Tourist Board, Mr. Osei Bonsu, Described Ghana as a peaceful country and also fortunate to host many international events to promote tourism in this country.
“The Ghana Tourist Board will do well to support the collaboration to boost the economy of Ghana” he added.
Mr. Osei Bonsu expressed Ghana’s warm appreciation to the German brothers and sisters for the warm hospitality extended to Ghanaian delegates when they visited Gambia.
The President of the Gambia Hotel had certain things in common and that the collaboration would be a springboard for further co-operation.
“We have a lot in common which we don’t need to seek elsewhere. We must look inward to promote each other,” Mr. Secka emphasized.
The Vice President of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Nana Ofori Kuragu, called on all stakeholders to come on board to market Ghana domestically and abroad.
He, however, stated that the high cost of hotel rates imposed on hoteliers, coupled with the uneasiness to acquire and renew visas was hampering the success of the Hotel business.
Nana Ofori Kurago, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bosome Freho in the Ashanti Region also stressed the need for those in the industry to enhance their training to ensure that guests always felt comfortable.
Information, he said very vital and therefore urged Ghanaians to always make information accessible to guests to educate them on vital issues.
“The Association has about 800 members who protect the dignity of the hotels image in Ghana by abiding by its motto service with a smile”.
The MP also suggested that the financial institution in Ghana must devise a system which will help those living in Ghana temporarily or permanently to remit their relatives abroad.
Earlier in a welcome address, Mrs. Stella Appenteng, President of the Tour Operators Union of Ghana (TOUGHA) stressed the need for Ghanaians to showcase their rich culture to the outside world to promote tourism in the country.
Mrs. Awurabena Okrah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Winglow Clothes and Textiles Limited, Promoted the use of the “Friday Wear’ by Ghanaians.
A brief video clip which was shown to entertain the delegates depicted the rich tourists attractions of the Gambia.
Mrs. Nancy Esuman-Gwira, Managing Director of the Tourist Hospitality Services was the winner for a raffle drawn after the meeting.
For her prize, she had a return ticket to Benjul for two nights and a day’s trip to some tourist sites in Gambia. This was sponsored by Slok Air, an An line.
There was an exhibition of some fabric products from the Gambia.
The Gambia delegates will be in the country for a week to visit places like Elmina, Kumasi, Aburi, and Odumase and back to Accra.
THE SPECTATOR - Saturday, August 11, 2007 Page: 23