From left: Director General, NDPC, Dr Kodjo Esseim; Dep. Minister of Tourism, Dr Ziblim Barri Iddi; and CEO, Chamber of Tourism, Odelia Ntiamoah
The Ghana Chamber of Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and other sector stakeholders, has launched an African digitization conference to build synergy and share ideas on facilitating the digitizing of the tourism sector to promote investment and trade.
The initiative is aimed at consolidating the gains made from the ‘Year of Return’ and attracting direct foreign investment to the tourism sector, as government pushes additional 10-year policy of ‘Beyond the Return.’
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Dr. Ziblim Barri Iddi, speaking at the conference launch noted that the Vice-President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, for the past three years has been championing digitization of the economy leading to the laying of the digital infrastructure which the tourism sector can leverage on to take off.
“Tourism and trade are so key to the success of the economy, contributing so much to the strength and weakness of the economy, especially in foreign exchange and strengthening of the currency.
“In ensuring that we building on the gains of the ‘Year of Return’ the President of Ghana has approved the ‘Beyond the Return’ initiative with seven key points of which the first one is ‘Diaspora Investment Drive’ targeted at wooing in more foreign investors to the tourism sector.
“We did not get enough in terms of the economic impact of the massive inflow of people that we witnessed, so in order to say that we were successful with the year of return, there was the need to be able to bring them back but with the mind set of investment in Ghana and Africa,” he said.
He further indicated that government is committed to using tourism as a tool to drive investment and as such has set up an inter-ministerial team at cabinet level comprising tourism and investment sectors to consider pragmatic was of driving investment in tourism.
The conference dubbed ‘Africa Digitization Conference on Trade and Tourism (ADCOTT)’ is slated for August 24 to 26th 2020, in Accra, and is expected to bring together about 3,000 participants from all African countries.
To be held with the theme: “Pushing Africa’s tourism and trade frontiers through digitisation,” the conference will deliberate on issues confronting the tourism sector of the African economy and the integration of businesses and technologies with industrial trends such as artificial intelligence, big data, open data and internet of things in tourism and trade for Africa’s development.
The CEO, Chamber of Tourism, Odelia Ntiamoah, stated that tourism is the next big thing when it comes to economic growth of countries in Africa, hence the conference will focus on the role digitisation can play in achieving both agenda 2063, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030) with trade and tourism as the anchor.
Director General, National Development Planning Council (NDPC), Dr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, indicated that the tourism sector is a whole business on its own contributing about six percent to GDP and growing at a rate of nine percent per annum, above the national average, therefore, using digitisation as a tool to open up the tourism industry will go a long way to expand the economic potential of the sector.