The 10th edition of the Northern Regional Tourism Awards, organised by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), came off at the weekend in Tamale.
Held under the theme: “promoting responsible tourism,” the event was aimed at honouring distinguished personnel and companies for their contributions toward the growth of the sector in the region, so as to serve as encouragement to others.
Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Sagnarigu, Mariam Iddrisu, who represented the Northern Regional Minister Salifu Sa-eed, said the country’s tourism industry is expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years.
“In 2013, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated direct contribution of the travel and tour industry to Ghana at US$1.34 billion, representing 2.8% of gross domestic product, while that of 2016 stood at 3.05.
The jobs also directly supported by tourism was 124,000 in 2013 and 288,000 jobs, representing a 2.4% in 2016, indicating high employment rates within the sector,” she stated.
Also, Trading Economics Statistics indicate that in 2015, 897,000 tourists visited Ghana, with the figure reaching 950,000 in 2017.
This, according to the MCE, calls for strategic measures to put the country’s tourism sector on the international market, which she added, will ultimately lead to an increase in tourist visits and revenue.
She therefore called on operators to maintain high standards and quality services, to enable the country, and the Northern Region, in particular, generate more revenue for development.
On his part, Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer of GTA, emphasised that quality service delivery leads to the progress of tourism, and therefore urged the players in the industry to ensure that quality service is enhanced.
“Tourism has lots of potentials to propel the economy if well harnessed to meet the demand of the growing investors and tourists,” he said.
Senior Resource Officer of GTA, Jonathan Twum Osae, who represented the Regional Manager Alexander Kwame Nketia, said the essence of the event was to inject a sense of competitiveness into the tourism sector to boost business activities in the region and the country, as a whole.
According to him, the region accounts for less than 5% of the total tourist traffic in the country and also less than 15% of the total country stock of accommodation facilities, in spite of the fact that it possesses some of the most important tourist sites in the country.