News Categories: News

20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

GTA and Year of Return partner WWE for Kofi Kingston Homecoming

The Year of Return Ghana 2019 Steering Committee is partnering the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for the upcoming Kofi Kingston Homecoming.

Reigning World Wrestling Entertainment Champion, Kofi Kingston has in a Facebook and Instagram post said he will be visiting home after 26 years. In a post that suggests he has heard the call to action in the trending #YearofReturn hashtag ‘Brafie’ #brafie and responding by inviting others to the slogan #LetsGoGhana, Kofi is will be returning home for a 4-day visit beginning May 30 to June 2, 2019 to pay a courtesy call on the President, Nana Akufo Addo and the Asantehene, Otumfuor Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace as well as visit many tourist attractions including Lake Bosomtwi, Christiansborg (Osu) Castle, Bonwire, Ejisu and Komfo Anokye. He will be accompanied by a WWE crew who are shooting a documentary on him as World Champion.

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

Ghana is being heralded as the next big tourist destination. Here’s why

When some of the most well-known faces from the African diaspora arrived for a recent vacation in Accra, Ghana, it looked like just another gathering of famous people.

Actors including Idris Elba rubbed shoulders with supermodel Naomi Campbell, TV sports presenter Mike Hill, and author Luvvie Ajayi.

Behind this meet-up of box office stars, fashion royalty and top creatives is a focused and ambitious strategy to make Ghana a major tourist destination.

Ghana’s travel industry is projected to raise $8.3 billion a year by 2027, plus associated benefits, according to the plan.

VIP guests attended events chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, the architect of the plan to boost tourism and diversify the country’s economy through reaching out to its diaspora, while guests took part in conferences, festivities and trips across the country to discover its unique and sobering heritage.

The primary purpose of the festival was to forge closer ties between Ghana, the African continent and those of African descent living elsewhere.

It’s 400 years since the first African slaves were taken from countries like Ghana to mainland America, marking the start of the trans-Atlantic slave trade route. This timing is based on the first recorded landing of a ship carrying Africans in Virginia in August 1619.

An estimated 75% of slave dungeons on the west coast of Africa were in Ghana — millions of people were taken and transported on ships that departed from Ghanaian ports.

President Akufo-Addo’s Year of Return announcement pointed to Ghana’s tragic legacy as a reason for diaspora descendants to return and learn about this chapter of history.

The celebrities who attended the Full Circle Festival were taken on guided tours of the slave dungeons.

“Every person of color needs to get on this pilgrimage,” said actor and co-organizer Boris Kodjoe who is of Ghanaian descent. “They need to experience this journey and get in touch with their emotional heritage, walk through the dungeons and see the ‘door of no return,'” he told CNN.

Marketing rockstar Bozoma Saint John — who has a series of marketing coups like Beyonce’s halftime Super Bowl show under her belt — worked with Kodjoe, inviting 100 of the most influential members of the African diaspora to party with them at the festival over Christmas and New Year.

Saint John, who works for global media conglomerate Endeavor and previously had high profile roles with Uber and Apple Music, says the project is close to her heart.

“As long as you have melanin and you are seeking a return to Africa, it is a must,” she told CNN.

“I really felt that I wanted to show people the country I know and love. I take it as a personal mission and will use my professional weight to help the mission.”

Saint John says that returning members of the diaspora can expect joy on their trip to Ghana as well as moments of solemnity. Skyscrapers and restaurants feature prominently in her promotional material.

“All the fun things you can do in Nice, Bali, Ibiza, you can do here in Ghana too,” she added.

Year of return

The celebrity-attended Full Circle Festival was the opening act of a broader Year of Return, announced by President Akufo-Addo in September 2018.

Speaking about the year ahead at Washington’s National Press Club Akufo-Addo said Ghana would open its “arms even wider to welcome home our brothers and sisters in what will become a birthright journey home for the global African family.”

The Year of Return includes a music festival, an investment conference targeting diaspora Ghanaians, and the Right to Return initiative, encouraging African-Americans to seek citizenship in Ghana.

This year-long initiative builds on a long tradition of looking outwards.

Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African country to win independence from colonial rule, has a history of pursuing ties with Africans overseas. It dates back to the country’s first President Kwame Nkrumah, whose vision of pan-Africanism included alliances with diaspora communities.

Nkrumah enjoyed warm relations with African-American icons such as Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, who both traveled to Ghana to meet him. Writer Maya Angelou spent time in the country after its independence and civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois is buried in Accra.

Ghana has also sought to incentivize diaspora returnees through legislation such as the Right of Abode law of 2000 that allows people of African descent to apply for the right to stay in the country indefinitely.

It was followed by the Joseph Project in 2007 that encouraged Africans in the diaspora to return, officials have compared it to Israel’s Law of Return that allows Jews to become citizens.

These initiatives have had some success. An estimated 3,000 African-Americans had permanently settled in Ghana by 2014.

By the time Saint John is finished with marketing Ghana to the world, she is hopeful it will have knock-on impact across the region and wants to reshape people’s perceptions.

“We are going to use Ghana as a gateway to the rest of the continent,” she said.

“There are beaches in Kenya as well as snow-capped mountains. We need to tell the story of all the amazing opportunities Africa has to offer.”

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

‘Ghana is losing from politicization of tourism industry’ – Kojo Yankah

Former Chairman of the Pan-African Festival (PANAFEST), Kojo Yankah has said the infiltration of politics in the management of Ghana’s tourism industry is a contributory factor to the dwindling fortunes of the industry.

According to Mr. Yankah, the unhealthy politicization of the industry is negatively affecting the tourism potential of the country since in some cases unqualified people are placed in influential positions because they helped a party come into office.

Speaking in an interview on Citi TV’s current affairs program, Face to Face, Mr. Yankah, who is also a former MP additionally said Ghana is losing a lot, in terms of revenue, due to this trend.

He called on government to begin to see tourism as a big business that could offer so much value to Ghanaians.

“We are losing so much…No, I am afraid we don’t have a program for tourism, it’s all adhoc. We had a tourism plan and program in the 70s and eary 90s. I don’t know if that program is still there but that defined the action plan and strategic directions we needed to take as a country to evolve but now to some point it is even more political, we are destroying what we have and what we can do with politics.”

“If you put somebody at the top who is only thinking about how to satisfy foot soldiers to put them in places and pay them, then we have a problem. You don’t put somebody in certain places because they suffered for the party. It is a business so put people who are qualified. It is a major business.”

Mr Kojo Yankah also disclosed that his tenure as the PANAFEST chairman saw the country benefit from significant achievements that did not only have economic value but also boosted the international image of the country.

He explained that during his tenure of Chairman of PANAFEST, he sought to use tourism to project the image of the Central Region which was among the least developed in the country.

“Central region is the fourth poorest region in Ghana apart from the 3 Northern Regions the next poorest region in Ghana is the central region. I saw tourism as the industry that could drive the whole region and make money for the region so as the we deliberately had plans to develop products that would do the trick, we already had the castle and forts, when we invited the director of health, education, water and sewage to be part of the Tourism development committee, they didn’t understand later they did…and that is how we developed it.”

“PANAFEST in 1992 and by 1994 the demand was high, so we had people developing their hotels, Government even gave the hoteliers association money, we got all the hotels filled up. People had to go find accommodation in the Western Region.”

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20 May
By: Richard Sumah 0

Data collection, a catalyst for tourism growth in Africa

Exactly a week into the New Year, Kenya released its tourism statistics for 2018 much to the admiration of industry watchers who hailed the quickness and effectiveness with which they have been able to collate and compile the data.

Kenya like just a few African countries has adopted an effective data collection mechanism as one of the multi-faceted approach to developing and growing its tourism. For countries that have paid attention to proper data collection, one thing has remained constant; that data helps to plan and properly prepare tourist destinations for visitors. Unfortunately, not so many African countries have seen the need to have an effective data collection mechanism. The few who care enough rely on statistics provided by say, their immigration authority which makes the final data not empirical enough.

Additionally, it sidelines visitor numbers and receipts from the domestic tourism space. It is against this background and more, that it has become imperative for any country that is serious about tracking its tourism numbers to adopt a more scientific means of collating data. One of such mechanisms is the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA).

The Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) is a standard statistical framework and the main tool for the economic measurement of tourism. It has been developed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-opération and Development (OECD), the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) and the United Nations Statistics Division. The Tourism Satellite Account: Recommended Methodological Framework 2008 (also known as the TSA: RMF 2008) provides the updated common conceptual framework for constructing a TSA. It adopts the basic system of concepts, classifications, definitions, tables and aggregates of the System of National Accounts 2008 (SNA 2008), the international standard for a systematic summary of national economic activity, from a functional perspective.

The TSA thus allows for the harmonization and reconciliation of tourism statistics from an economic (National Accounts) perspective. This enables the generation of tourism economic data (such as Tourism Direct GDP) that is comparable with other economic statistics. Exactly how the TSA does this relates to the SNA logic of contrasting data from the demand-side (the acquisition of goods and services by visitors while on a tourism trip) with data from the supply-side of the economy (the value of goods and services produced by industries in response to visitor expenditure).

In what could simply be described as apathy towards data gathering, African nations were some of the late adopters of the TSA. A report by UNWTO in 2010 on ‘TSA Data Around the World’ showed at the time that Egypt was the only African country out of the 60 around the world that had been identified as “having already produced or are currently developing a TSA exercise.” That effectively translated to zero sub-Saharan Africa involvement with TSA at the time. Many more countries in Africa have since subscribed to the TSA. Botswana for instance launched its updated TSA last February, having done so twice previously. That notwithstanding, most of these countries have left their TSA dormant and are unable to publish their tourism data as timeous as is required.

Tourism data constitutes one of the biggest challenges of the sector in Africa. This assertion has been made, time and again by experts, students, tourism boards and the general African public. The recognition of the tremendous benefits that tourism data brings cannot be overemphasized. It is through data collection that national tourism agencies and ministries can have the figures, based on which to advocate and push for improved sites and experiences for tourists. The United Nations Statistical Commission’s Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics reiterates, “Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation.”

While the TSA to some, might not be the ultimate formula for getting an absolute tourism statistics of countries, it presents opportunities for key data to be collected when one considers the pointers on which information is premised; the TSA can be seen as a set of 10 summary tables, each with their underlying data: inbound, domestic tourism and outbound tourism expenditure, internal tourism expenditure, production accounts of tourism industries, the Gross Value Added (GVA) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) attributable to tourism, employment, investment, government consumption, and non-monetary indicators.

It is an undeniable fact that the intervention of the TSA enables governments to, amongst others, create collaborative inter-institutional platforms for more refined and integrated tourism data collection, and to purposefully identify data gaps and create action plans to produce timely and credible tourism statistics. Of course, such collaborations should be done with national statistical services and tourism agencies with the mandate to collate data. The catch with TSA is that the UNWTO has constantly supported member countries technically and in other areas to keep them updated on the dynamics and trends. Alternatively, counties could develop their own framework for gathering tourism data which conforms to globally accepted standards. Tourism data is crucial to the sector’s *growth and development in Africa and must be seen as such, after all, this industry thrives on information and how much is shared.

By: Samuel Obeng Appah

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07 Feb
By: Richard Sumah 1

Ghana: National Chocolate Day 2019 launched

The Ghana Tourism Authority GTA) in partnership with the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) have launched this year’s National Chocolate Day.

Akwasi Agyeman , CEO, GTA

National Chocolate Day which falls on February 14 was instituted by the GTA in collaboration with Cocoa Processing Company, Ghana Cocoa Board and other stakeholders some years ago, to create awareness on the need for Ghanaians to patronise cocoa products and to help generate more revenue for national development.

Emmanuel A. Opoku, Deputy Chief Executive in Charge of Operations, COCOBOD

The 2019 National Chocolate Day is under the theme, “My Chocolate Experience,” which organisers are hoping will help drive the promotion of chocolate and the generic consumption of cocoa in Ghana and the rest of the world.

A section of participants at the launch

Activities for the celebration of the National Chocolate Day have begun with a digital campaign by the GTA.

Other activities include a health walk, chocolate funfair, and chocolate bash, among others.

Musician and Tourism Ambassador, Okyeame Kwame exchanging pleasantries at the launch of the National Chocolate Day 2019
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07 Feb
31 Jan
By: Richard Sumah 0

Security, infrastructure key in ‘Year of Return’ — Hotels association

The President of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA), Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, has urged the government to make security and basic infrastructure such as good road networks, a priority in a bid to attract more tourists into the country, this year.

With this year christened the ‘Year of Return’, to mark 400 years of slave trade, he said the hospitality industry was expected to receive a boost, hence the need for the government to make adequate preparations to welcome the tourists bound for the country.

“Tourism is multi-faceted. There are issues of visa on arrival, among other things. However, the key things we must consider are safety and security, sanitation, health, and bad roads,” he told GRAPHIC BUSINESS on January 25, 2019.

He admonished the appropriate ministries to fix the loopholes in the sectors to beef up tourism, one of the major contributors to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr stated that the association (as tourism stakeholders) was invited to a series of meetings and the launch of the Year of Return in January and has since initiated steps to map up strategies to ensure that operations were run smoothly to accommodate and ensure a good stay for tourists.

Preparations

He added that the association was looking forward to holding training, education and awareness creation sessions for members in anticipation of the possible influx of tourists’ visits this year.

“We are strategising to provide basic training sessions as well as education and awareness creation,” he said.

He also reiterated the Ghana Tourism Authority’s pledge to assist the association with information and marketing support to help boost the hospitality industry, especially during the period of the Year of Return.

“The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) promised to provide some information support and marketing support,” Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr said.

Security measures

Mr Ackah-Nyamike bemoaned the effects of the recent security threats that have hit the country on tourism, citing the murder of investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein Suale, and a number of kidnapped cases in Takoradi.

He stated that those threats caused panic and fear and might deter tourists.

He, therefore, entreated security agencies to treat the teeming security canker with utmost urgency.

Standards

He gave an assurance that the association would make sure that quality standards were strictly adhered to in order to provide a congenial environment for tourists.

Year of Return

President Akufo Addo declared 2019 as the year for all people of African descent living in the Diaspora to return to Ghana.

Dubbed “Year of Return, Ghana 2019”, the declaration was made at a ceremony at the United States National Press Club in Washington DC.

This year marks 400 years since the arrival of the first slave ship from Africa into America during the Trans Atlantic slave trade era in 1619.

Activities

A tall list of activities have been lined up to observe the Year of Return.

They include African Culture and Wellness festival, Black History Month, Back2Africa festival, the Jamaica-Ghana festival (JaGhafest) and Heritage Paragliding festival, among others
The historic milestone will see tourists from all parts of the world troop to tourist sites for sight-seeing.

Already, the Cable News Network (CNN) has ranked the Cape Coast Castle fourth on a list of tourist sites across the world worth visiting this year.

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18 Jan
By: Richard Sumah 0

GHATOF ORGANIZE MAIDEN WORKSHOP ON LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING AS PART OF PREPARATIONS FOR THE YEAR OF RETURN

The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) which is the umbrella organization for private participants in the Hospitality and tourism industry, as part of its activities and preparations towards this year of return an initiative of the Ghana Tourism Authority to promote and market Ghana to the Diaspora to return home to Ghana their ancestral home to be part of the nation building has organize its maiden workshop at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra to impact on the leadership of the federation to equip their members to fully participate in the year’s activity with improved skills in service delivery and customer relationship.

This year 2019 marks the 400th year when the first slave landed on the American shores as a slave a damaging history which affected the continent of Africa and derailed our developmental agenda.

The president of the federation, Madam Bella Ayee Ahu in her welcome address indicated the need and importance for the various association leaders to come together develop new leadership skills to enable them impact and promote their various associations members interest in participating in the year of return as industry players such as tour operators, car rentals tour guides, tour operators, chefs, food vendors, traditional caterers among other key service providers.

She indicated that, this training has been a long term vision of the federation to provide skills development opportunities for members to grow and impact on the tourism industry.

Mr Kwesi Agyeman the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority indicated the authorities’ preparedness to support the various associations to improve on their skills levels in promoting the interest of their members and the industry at large. He also mentioned of the need to increase the annual certification levy in order to facilitate the activities of the authority.

He said, the success of the year of return will depend largely on the involvement of the various members of the federation and how highly they looking up to its members make this year’s event successful.

Dr. Edward Ackah Nyameke the chairman for the occasion praised the executives of the federation and thanked them for putting the training program together; to him this has been long overdue since he personally believes periodic leadership skills upgrading programs are paramount and relevant to the success of the industry. He is very optimistic that the training will yield the needed result and to equip all leaders to rejuvenate the interest of their members to embrace change and improve on their service delivery and customer service abilities.

At the end of the first training section member were taken through leadership style, management style and definition of leadership how applicable the theories are in their daily activities and how it can transform the associations. Members were also taken trough vigorous practical team building and management approaches which many of them were excited about and promised to implement them to enhance on their performance.

The training was facilitated by on the finest industry player with a vast experience in the hospitality and tourism industry Dr. Joseph Mensah-Ansah, Head of Department – Hospitality Programme and Director, GIMPA Executive Conference Centre, who patiently took participant through the training sections, was optimistic periodic training will help sharpen their leadership skills in order to develop the tourism industry which is now a major contributor to GDP of various countries across the globe and called on government to pay much attention to the industry and invest  more into research.

Many issues were raised by members including GHATOF participation in the year of return programs or events they also lament for the lack of funding and recognition of GHATOF as a major private sector organization advocating and promoting the industry. Issues were also raised about lack of accurate and reliable data to support the industry contributing to GDP.

As part of the year of return activities GHATOF plan to organize an event called ‘MARABA’ (welcome) to showcase Ghana’s rich culture, music, dance, costumes, and food, among various indigenous activities. They also intend to organize training for sales people in traffics, taxi drivers, trotro drivers among other groups to be more hospitable to visitors and to promote ourselves as the friendliest people on earth. The federation intend to organize more of such training programs across the country in their determination to train many leaders in the sector as possible.

Dr. Nyameke in his closing remarks thanked all for participating in their numbers and entreats all leaders to be more committed, proactive to the association and to contribute their quota towards the development of the federation.

By Richard Sumah

 

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15 Jan
By: Richard Sumah 0

Activities for Year of Return – Ghana 2019 unveiled

The Steering Committee of the Year Return, Ghana 2019 has outdoored activities of events commemorating the year-long celebration.

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” is a major landmark spiritual and birth-right journey inviting the Global African family, home and abroad, to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. It marked a sordid and sad period, when our kith and kin were forcefully taken away into years of deprivation, humiliation and torture.

Ghana’s leadership in Africa’s quest to be free united, politically and to be economically independent is well recognised. Ghana is unique and poised as a “Gate of Return” to our compatriots in the Diaspora. With the presence of a huge human capital in the Diaspora, government is committed to roll out policies to foster deeper relationship and reintegration with our compatriots to foster development. In November last year, the committee called for submissions of event proposals.

More than 30 events have been approved and endorsed so far by the committee so far to be held. But at the Press Briefing to introduce the events, Coordinator of the Year of Return, Akwasi Agyeman said the committee was still open for more event ideas since the celebration is to give “people reason to be in Ghana each day of the year.” One of the main goals of “Year of Return, 2019” is to position Ghana as a key destination for African Americans and the Diaspora.

There is huge opportunity to promote Ghana, Africa and Africa-American cultural insights, entrepreneurship, scientific exploits and leadership through the year-long activities to celebrate and commemorate the “Year of Return” Part of the strategies of the committee is to aggressively market and promote the events to citizens and Africans in the diaspora .

The Year of Return, Ghana 2019 is envisaged to be a major boost for Ghana’s tourism with over 350,000 visitors expected from North America alone.

Activities for the Year of Return include; This is New Africa (T.I.N.A), African Culture and Wellness Festival, Back2Africa Festival, The Pan African Student Summit, Ghana Jamaican Homecoming Festival Black Prophet Homecoming Celebration and National Pan-Hellenic Council Republic Week Reunion. The full calendar of events can accessed at www.yearofreturn.com

The “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” which is being coordinated by the Ghana Tourism Authority (G.T.A.) in partnership with the Office of Diaspora Affairs (Office of the President), the Panafest Foundation and the Adinkra group is under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

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02 Jan
By: Richard Sumah 0

Ghana and Mozambique features in AirBNB’s 19 places to visit in 2019

As the year comes to an end, pundits, travel writers, magazines and other major travel and research groups are revealing the most wanted countries to be visited by tourists in 2019.

AirBNB an important player in the tourism supplier chain has released its 19-city list to be visited in 2019. Ghana and Mozambique were the only African countries to have their cities featured on the list.

Ghana which featured on number seven on the list was quoted as ‘’
Ghana is emerging as a global African destination and a place for spiritual journeys and self-discovery, and has seen a significant influx of international travelers to-date. With Makola Market offering its must-see colorful bazaar and the Labadi and Kokrobite beaches along the Gulf of Guinea boasting an exciting nightlife, there is no shortage of promised stimulation on this part of West Africa’s Atlantic coast.

Mozambique was followed Ghana on 8th place
‘’This southern African beach getaway is home to nature galore — coral islands, the mangrove-covered Iso Island, and marine and national parks. The Indian Ocean surrounding the islands is home to 2,000 types of colorful fish prime for watching by scuba diving or snorkeling. Animal lovers can further rejoice in Mozambique’s pink flamingos, Nile crocodiles and dolphins.’’

The full list are Xiamen-China, Puebla-Mexico, Normandy-France, Great Smokey Mountains-US, Buenos Aires Province-Argentina, Accra-Ghana, Mozambique, Outer Herbrides-Scotland, Wakayama Prefeture-Japan, Catskill Mountain and Hudson Valley-US, Santa Catarina State-Brazil, Batumi-Georgia, Winnipeg-Canada, Pondicherry-India, Uzbekistan, Calabrai-Italy, Andalusia-Spain, Taiwan,

Ponta Mamoli Beach in Mozambique

Airbnb’s predictions were based on a combination of Airbnb search, booking and wish list growth data. The statement released on its website stated ‘’ AirBnb Based on a combination of Airbnb search, booking and wish list growth data*, we’re once again forecasting growing interest in more off-the-beaten-path regions, cities and towns to explore’’.

‘’Ranging from a vehicle-free island off the coast of southeastern China’s Xiamen, to the site of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary celebration next year, we’ve found that most of our trending destinations are places where the increased “healthy,” more sustainable and authentic tourism will benefit residents and travelers alike, promoting emerging locales like Accra, Ghana; supporting environmental sustainability in places like Calabria, Italy; and offering the chance to help rebuild communities after natural disasters, starting with the top-trending destination on our list: Kaikoura, New Zealand.’’

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