The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has presented awards to a total of 22 individuals and institutions for their various roles in growth and development of the tourism sector in the Brong Ahafo Region during the 2018 year under review.
The awards ceremony was also used to showcase and market the region’s rich tourism potential as well as assess the performance of industry practitioners and operators against operational standards by the GTA.
The GTA Brong Ahafo Regional Tourism Awards 2018 were under the theme ‘Celebrating our Heritage’. It was hosted by the Royal Unity Lodge (Ahenfie) at Berekum; and eventually the hotel was adjudged the 2018 Best 2-star facility in the Brong Ahafo Region.
In a speech read for him, the CEO of GTA – Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, announced that Ghana has declared 2019 as the ‘Year of Return’ to commemorate the landmark 400-year anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival in the United States of America. The Year of Return, he noted, also marks 400 years of African resilience and survival – representing a unique opportunity for Ghana to cement its pan-African leadership.
According to him, Ghana is expected to receive about 500,000 visitors across the globe, of whom most would be from the African Diaspora. He therefore urged practitioners in the tourism industry to position themselves in order to “receive our brothers and sisters from the Global African Family across the world by ensuring that high standards are adhered to in order to deliver quality service”.
In June 2017, the GTA launched a marketing campaign dubbed ‘See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana and Feel Ghana’ to promote domestic tourism, national culture and heritage. Mr. Agyeman indicated that the campaign has increased tourism traffic – both domestic and foreign, saying: “Traffic on our social media platforms continue to increase from time to time on the campaign”.
The campaign’s key objective is to develop a new and sustainable sense of nationalism that leads to a commercially viable and sustainable life. It pulls together existing and stalled efforts to rebrand and market Ghana locally, to the African Diaspora, and the rest of the world.
The Acting Brong Ahafo Regional Manager-GTA, Mr. Joseph Appiagyei, highlighted what he described as “frustration” in acquiring the requisite permits from Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as a challenge that has the tendency to drive away potential investors. “This serves as a disincentive to growth of the industry and delays processing of licences for operators by the Authority,” he added.
He also mentioned the “huge imposition of fees” by certain regulatory institutions without negotiating with leadership of the operators. This practice, he emphasised, has been a bane to industry growth. as some units have been folding-up in the region.
Mr. Appiagyei urged investors in the tourism and hospitality industry to seek professional advice from the Authority on time. This, he said, will help them ensure putting up infrastructure free of structural and architectural defects.
The awardees included Kintampo Waterfalls as the Best Visitor Attraction of the Year; Drinking Bar of the Year – Dreamers Joint, Sunyani; Best Travel and Tour Agency of the Year – African Origin Travels and Sports Tourism; Best Tourism Writer of the Year – Daniel Dzirasah of Ghanaian Times.
The rest were: Best 1-Star accommodation facility – Yakam Hotel, Kintampo; Best Guest House – Mungo Park, Sunyani; Budget Hotel of the Year – Hanser, Nkoranza; Consistent Payment of Tourism Levy (accommodation) – Eusbett Hotel Limited, Sunyani.